Later investigation found that someone had called Lieberman's cell phone from the apartment at 4 a.
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Lieberman does not remember it, but thinks he may have awoken briefly to check his voicemail. When he got up for work at , his wife had still not returned.
That evening, after the terrorist attacks, he was able to use his medical credentials to get through the security perimeter and return to their apartment. Since the window had been left open, dust from the towers had accumulated throughout. There were tracks in it from the couple's two kittens, but none from any human. She was one of hundreds of people reported to police as missing that day. Like those of other victims, her family posted flyers all over the city in an effort to find her. Her case was the only one not connected to the attacks, and, in order to generate media interest, her brother claimed to the media that he had last heard from her during the attack.
She has never been found or otherwise accounted for. Lieberman called American Express and learned about the credit-card purchases on the previous evening. He posted flyers in other Century 21 stores, and later that week a clerk from the Lower Manhattan store who had been relocated to Brooklyn called to say she remembered Philip, who had come in frequently. On the evening of September 10, the clerk recalled that Philip had been accompanied by another young woman, possibly Indian. After reviewing videotape footage for three weeks, Lieberman found the recording of his wife browsing in the coat department, but without anyone else.
Since police detectives initially seemed to be unhelpful to Lieberman and assumed that Philip had died with the other victims, he hired Gallant, who found two pieces of evidence suggesting that she may have returned to the apartment building early on the morning of September The first was the call from the home phone to Lieberman's cell; the second was some videotape from the security cameras in the lobby.
Due to the poor contrast from the sunlight in the lobby, she was visible only in silhouette, but her hair and dress are consistent with Philip as seen in the Century 21 tape from the previous evening. Her family also says the woman exhibits similar mannerisms.
She is, however, not carrying any of the bags that she would have had from her shopping trip, and again she is apparently unaccompanied. Gallant at first considered the possibility that Philip had used the attack to flee her mounting personal problems and start a new life under a new identity.
But her computer's hard drive revealed no evidence of any such plans or contacts, and she had also left her glasses, passport, driver's license and credit cards, except the American Express card, behind. Lieberman kept the account open in case any leads developed from attempts to use it, but none ever did. Gallant and Lieberman eventually concluded that Philip witnessed the attack and, as a physician, rushed to the site to render aid and subsequently perished there, either within the towers or in the ensuing collapse.
The police department was not able to begin investigating the Philip case for some time after the attacks. When it did, it found many details about Philip's life prior to September 11 that suggested she may have been elsewhere, or already dead, when the towers fell.
Earlier in the year, Cabrini had declined to renew Philip's contract, citing repeated tardiness and alcohol-related issues, effectively firing her. Shortly after she had been informed of that decision, she went out to a bar with other Cabrini employees.
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The outing led to her spending the night in jail. She complained to police that a fellow intern groped her during that time. The prosecutor who investigated the case dropped the sexual abuse charge and instead charged Philip with third-degree falsely reporting an incident , a misdemeanor under New York law. He offered to drop the charge if she recanted the original complaint, but she refused and was held overnight pending release.
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After her dismissal from Cabrini, she began spending nights out at gay and lesbian bars in the city, some known for their rough clientele. According to police, she would sometimes leave with women she met at these bars. Police also claim her brother discovered her and his then-girlfriend having sex, which her brother disputed.
She got another internship, in internal medicine , at St. Vincent's Medical Center on Staten Island , but was running into similar problems there—she had already been suspended for missing a meeting with a substance abuse counselor.
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On the morning of September 10, she had been formally arraigned on the criminal charge and pleaded not guilty. The police report says she and Lieberman fought loudly at the courthouse afterwards about her problems and nights out, which ended with her walking away and leaving him to go home alone and get ready for work. After reviewing it, the city medical examiner removed Philip from the official list of victims in January , one of the last three. Philip's husband, brother and family dispute much of what the police say and their interpretations of the documentary evidence.
She was fired from Cabrini not because of alcoholism but because she had been a " whistleblower " who complained about racial and sexual bias the hospital later told a reporter it had no evidence of any formal complaints by her. Lieberman says that while his wife frequented lesbian bars, it was because she did not want a repeat of the situation that had happened with her coworker. She never had sex with the women she went home with, he claims, and they would often merely listen to music, sleep or paint.
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One time, in fact, she came home covered with paint after going home with an artist. Her drinking was a temporary phase to ease her through the depression she was experiencing after being fired by Cabrini, and would stop once her life got back to normal, as he believed it was doing. Her brother says the report of him catching her with his girlfriend is completely fabricated and that he never even spoke with the detective who wrote it.
Similarly, Lieberman says the couple never fought at the courthouse after her arraignment.
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Dazed people covered in dust walk near the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks and on a sunny day months later. It's just part of day-to-day life in the city. Emergency workers take a break on Church Street by Ground Zero on September 11 and almost ten years later pedestrians walk the same stretch by discount store Century Top, an image of the destruction at Ground Zero weeks after the attack.
At the bottom is the construction of Four World Trade Center. The World Financial Center is visible to the west in the background.
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Present day: The Statue of Liberty stands before lower Manhattan just before sunset in New York on August 24, just over two weeks ahead of the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The memorial will then be open to the public on September 12, but visitors need to make reservations in advance because of the construction work.
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