A forlorn formality

Posted: Wednesday, April 18 at 08:37 am ET by NBC News

In a forlorn formality that will be repeated often in the coming days, the medical examiner in Roanoke has released the bodies of two victims of the Virginia Tech shooting to their families.

Robert Parker, a spokesman with the Virginia Department of Health, tells NBC News that the first bodies were released Tuesday. He did not identify the victims.

Parker said the bodies of the 30 other victims of gunman Cho Seung-Hui will be released when positive identification is made and next-of-kin is notified.

University officials are expected to provide more information of the victims and the investigation at a 9 a.m. ET news conference at the university.

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As officials, students and families struggle to come to terms with the tragedy at Virginia Tech, a team of MSNBC.com reporters and editors and NBC News producers and correspondents is on the scene.