Sneha Ann Philip

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Above Images: Philip, circa 2001

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: September 10, 2001 from New York City, New York
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: October 7, 1969
  • Age: 31 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'6, 115 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Asian (Indian) female. Black hair, brown eyes. Philip is a native of India. Some agencies spell her middle name "Anne." She has a mole on her left cheek and she wears contact lenses. Philip may use her husband's last name, Lieberman.
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A knee-length brown collared short-sleeved shirt dress with buttons down the front, sandals, a beaded black and gold choker with a small, teardrop-shaped cross pendant, a gold engagement ring with a diamond in the center, a gold wedding band with small diamonds studded all around it, and earrings with diamond studs arranged in flower shapes. One of the earrings is pictured in a photograph below this case summary.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Philip was in her third year of residency in internal medicine at St. Vincent's Hospital (now called the Richmond University Medical Center) on Staten Island, New York in September 2001. She did not have to work on September 10 and decided to relax and go shopping. She left her apartment in Battery Park in lower Manhattan at 5:15 p.m. Philip was last seen at 7:18 p.m. on September 10; she was captured on a security camera at Century 21 department store in New York City, New York. Her toenails were painted purple at the time of her disappearance. Philip was carrying two large shopping bags containing about $550 worth of lingerie, three pairs of shoes, and bed linens when she was seen on the security tape. She has never been heard from again and there was nothing in her apartment to indicate that she ever made it back there.

    A clerk at Century 21 says she saw Philip shopping with another woman whom Philip said was a friend. Philip's companion is described as 5'2 and 115 to 120 pounds with short black hair; she is possibly of East Indian descent. She has never been identified.

    Philip's husband, Ronald Lieberman, arrived at their apartment between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. that day and saw that his wife was not there. He was not assumed she was spending the night with her brother or her cousin, something she often did when he worked late. Lieberman did not report her disappearance to authorities until the next day. All of her relatives later stated that they had not seen her.

    Philip disappeared the day before the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and caused the deaths of over two thousand people. Philip's brother told the media that she was last seen running into the World Trade Center towers to offer her assistance after the attack. The story sounded plausible because Philip is a doctor and resided just near the towers, but it was untrue. Her brother says he lied about the circumstances surrounding his sister's disappearance to attract attention to her case.

    All of Philip's credit cards, except her husband's AmEx card she used at Century 21, were left behind at her home, as was her passport and other identification. Her family believes any clues there might have been were obliterated in the chaos of September 11. Lieberman believes she may have spent the night of September 10 elsewhere and was killed in the terrorist attack while walking back to her own apartment, which was only two blocks from the World Trade Center. He theorizes she possibly went into the World Trade Center to offer medical assistance to the wounded.

    Police disagreed with Lieberman's theory and suggested Philip had left of her own accord to escape a troubled life. There were allegations, which her family denies, that she had substance abuse problems and had engaged in lesbian affairs. She was also facing criminal charges; she accused a colleague of grabbing her inappropriately, but authorities did not believe her story and charged her with filing a false complaint after she refused to recant. Philip was in court over the false complaint charge on the morning of the day she disappeared. Lieberman stated their marriage was happy and she had no reason to walk out of her life.

    Years after Philip disappeared, Lieberman petitioned to have his wife declared a September 11 victim. No trace of her belongings or her remains were found at the site of the World Trace Center, but many of the known victims' remains were completely obliterated. A lower court declared Philip legally dead in 2004, but stated there was insufficient evidence that she had died in the September 11 attacks. Lieberman appealed and, in January 2008, the judge who heard his appeal agreed that Philip had probably died in the terrorist attack. The judge admitted there was no proof of this, but said he believed it was the most likely explanation for Philip's disappearance. Lieberman cannot collect any compensation from the federal September 11 victims' fund for his wife, as the fund closed in 2003. He stated he merely wished to get closure in her case and add her name to the victims' memorial.

    Philip was born in Karala, India and moved to America as a young child. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Chicago Medical School. Her loved ones held a memorial service for her in September 2002, a year after her disappearance.

    Earring
    Above: One of Philip's earrings

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New York City Police Department
    212-334-0635

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    Source Information
    The National Center for Missing Adults
    Newsday
    America's Most Wanted
    SnehaSearch
    The Daily Herald
    Unsolved Mysteries
    Extra TV
    IndoLink
    New York Times
    New York Daily News

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    Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated February 4, 2008; details of disappearance updated.

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