Thursday, September 13, 2001

Family clings to details of missing woman's fate

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — The television news stays on all night in the Faulkner house. A husband and two daughters tell the same story again and again.

        That is, what they know of it.

        It's 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on the 104th floor of Building Two of the World Trade Center. Wendy Faulkner, 47, a vice president at Aon Corp., a risk-management company and insurance brokerage, is in a meeting.

        She is working with two other women.

        “That's when the plane hit the first building next to them,” Lynn Faulkner, Wendy's husband, says. His voice quavers as he speaks from his home in Mason Wednesday.

        He's piecing together what he can of that morning. From co-workers' stories, he has learned that the three rush to an express elevator. One of the women gets on. His wife and the third woman do not. The elevator is full.

        “That's the last time she saw my wife,” Mr. Faulkner says. The woman who made it on the elevator survived.

        No one knows for sure which way Wendy Faulkner went from there.

        “The other (the third) woman made a cellular phone call in the stairwell in the 70s (around the 70th floor). I don't know what it was about. For all I know it could have been a goodbye.”

        Because information is coming out in small bits, Lynn Faulkner does not even know who the other two women are. “All my family can assume is that my wife was with this woman and they didn't make it any farther,” Mr. Faulkner says. “Those are the pieces we've put together and now we're just waiting.”

        It's not much, but it may be all they have of Wendy Faulkner's last moments alive.

        Mr. Faulkner and his two teen-age daughters have been waiting for more since word came that two planes hit the World Trade Center on Tuesday.

        “I think during all this waiting it helps to hold onto something,” said Loren Faulkner, 19.

        “Every little detail helps. It's a connection and she's lost right now. It helps because it's the only piece we have.”

        “Realistically,” Mr. Faulkner says, pausing to gain his composure, “we were hopeful, yesterday.

        “At this point we are hopeful but the more hours that go by, the more likely the news will not be good.”

        The family moved to Cincinnati five years ago from New York.

        Mrs. Faulkner worked for Western-Southern Life Insurance Co. and American Modern Insurance Group of Batavia Township before signing on with Aon Corp. in December.

        The television news is constant as neighbors and friends stop by to offer what comfort they can. Mr. Faulkner, Loren and 13-year-old Ashley recount what they know of the story again. It is the only thing they know to do.

        Except wait.


At a glance
Attacks are topic No. 1 in classrooms
Body recovery part of work of NYC crews
Constituents' emotions unmitigated
Different faiths, all drawn to pray
- Family clings to details of missing woman's fate
Jews seek normalcy
Local firefighters on task force joining rescue efforts
Muslims urged to give aid
No date, time for nation's air travel to resume
Outpouring of donations keeps blood supply steady
Relatives wait for word, pray
Stranded travelers find help in Florence
Tightened air security will be norm
Travelers wait, pray in deserted airport
Work resumes, but life is different
Wright-Patterson medical personnel join effort
PULFER: Cell phones
RADEL: Tristate sprouts flying flags
Reports bring sweep of river
Court upholds stay for Byrd
Luken suggests raises for cadets
Luken unused to second place
Primary results
Council halts bid for road-extension vote
Superintendent's contract extended
Tristate A.M. Report
Woman shot outside school as it lets out