Estelle Hedaya: Last Miami Condo Collapse Victim Identified
The remains of the final victim unaccounted for in the deadly apartment block collapse in Miami have been found and identified, her family announced.
The discovery ends a weeks-long wait for the family of 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya, who had been missing since her building collapsed on 24 June.
Estelle Hedaya’s brother, Ikey, told media that local New York police delivered the news to their family on July 26.
Her discovery brings the death toll in the collapse disaster to 98.
Search teams spent weeks combing the rubble for victims but said on July 23 that their search had finally ended. At that time, Estelle Hedaya was still unaccounted for.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said July 26 that police volunteers were continuing to “carefully and meticulously” sift through millions of pounds of debris at a secondary site looking for remains and personal items.
“We have done everything possible to bring closure to the families and I am especially proud that through these tireless efforts we were able at last to bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones,” the mayor told reporters.
The number of people missing had initially been put as high as 159, but police brought that figure down after weeks of checking reports.
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According to officials, the site where the 12-floor Champlain Towers South building once stood is being treated as a crime scene.
What caused the 40-year-old building to fall to the ground remains unknown, but a 2018 report had found structural problems with the ocean-side block.
All but one of those killed were recovered dead in the rubble, with one victim dying in hospital.
A Jewish funeral is expected to take place for Estelle Hedaya in New York on July 27, the AP reports.
Estelle Hedaya’s family and friends described her as outgoing and fun-loving and said she loved to travel and try new things, like salsa dancing.
Other victims of the disaster include the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter, a 92-year-old grandmother and the sister of Paraguay’s first lady.