It took nearly 40 hours, but when Natasha finally learned the fate of the sister she had lost in the chaotic aftermath of the Moscow hostage-taking, the news wasn't good. Yevgenia, a mother of two, was found dead late tonight in a Moscow morgue. She was 39.

The story of Natasha and her sister during the final moments of their captivity in a Moscow theater was chronicled in Sunday's Washington Post. The two had been sitting together when the gas attack knocked Natasha out, and she never saw her sister again.

Natasha, who asked that her last name not be used, was released from Veterans Hospital No. 1 this afternoon. By 6:30 p.m., she felt well enough to talk. "I'm tired, of course," she said, but happy to have her first shower since Wednesday and some decent food.

She said the doctors who treated her for gas inhalation were uncertain what kind had been used. "Some of the doctors were telling us it was nerve gas, some were saying it was tear gas," she said.

Natasha was never questioned by the Federal Security Service in the hospital, but one agent did come into her room. "He just came in and said, 'You got away easy,' " she recalled.

As she spoke, she was still desperately hoping for news about Yevgenia.

Shortly before 11 p.m., the news came, and it turned out Yevgenia was one of the 117 hostages who didn't get away.

-- Susan B. Glasser