Madison County fingerprint specialist assists at crash site

Matthew Episcopo of Morrisville was among dozens of professionals from around the country who responded to the Feb. 12 crash of Continental Flight No. 3407 in Clarence.

Episcopo and other Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team personnel assisted the Erie County Medical Examiner, Dr. James Woytash and his staff in the positive identification and return of victim's remains to their families.

In addition to the DMORT, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response activated a specialized DMORT team called the Disaster Portable Morgue Unit, which deployed with equipment and personnel, and a DMORT Family Assistance Center Team, which interviewed families and provided information to assist in the identification of the victims.

Episcopo is the Captain of the Criminal Division of the Madison County Sheriff's Office and a professional comedy magician. He has been a DMORT member since 2002.

DMORT is part of the National Disaster Medical System under US DOHHSO ASPR. Team members are activated following a mass fatality incident to support state, local and other federal agencies in responding to emergencies.

In this case, ASPR activated teams responded at the request of the state, county and the National Transportation Safety Board.

DMORT members respond as intermittent federal employees.

These professionals can include medical examiners, coroners, pathologists, forensic anthropologists, funeral directors, medical record technicians and transcribers, fingerprint specialists, forensic odontologists, dental assistants, x-ray technicians, mental health specialists, computer professionals and administrative support staff, as well as security and investigative personnel.

For more information on DMORT, visit dmort.org. To learn more about ASPR and NDMS, visit hhs.gov/disasters.

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