Search for missing persons collapses at Miami condo ends with identification of 98th victim

Estelle Hedaya (left) has been identified as the 98th and latest victim of the Surfside condo collapse last month (Photos: AFP / Reuters)

The search for those missing in the Miami-area condo collapse ended Monday as authorities identified the 98th and final victim who was not found. Estelle Hedaya, 54, was named as the last unrecovered person, her brother Ikey Hedaya said.

Estelle was the only person not recovered on Friday, when firefighters ended their search for people missing during the partial collapse of the Champlain South Towers on June 24.

Miami-Dade police continued to search for human remains and personal items. County officials have determined that 97 people were missing in the Surfside, Florida collapse, while a victim who died in hospital has never been reported missing.

Ikey, 47, a tax accountant from Brooklyn, said last week that he donated his DNA and visited the site of the collapse despite his reluctance to see where his sister died, in order to assist with research efforts . He said the wait was tortuous and that he “can’t believe Estelle is out there somewhere.”

Estelle Hedaya lived on the sixth floor of the 13-story condominium, worked as an COO for a jewelry company and blogged about her travels

Estelle Hedaya, 54, lived on the sixth floor of a 13-story condominium, worked as an operations manager for a jewelry company and blogged about her travels (Photo: Feeds)

People visit a makeshift memorial where the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Florida on July 24

People visit a makeshift memorial where the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Fla. On July 24 (Photo: Getty Images)

‘Hard to believe. My sister is the last, ” Ikey said on Wednesday.

Estelle, originally from New York, lived on the sixth floor of a 13-story condominium. She was COO of Continental Buying Group, a jewelry company, and blogged about her travels, favorite spas, and fitness tips.

Ikey said his sister drew her strength from God during difficult times and he is doing the same.

“She always mentioned God whenever she struggled with anything,” he said. “She had reached a different spiritual level, which allowed her to excel in all other areas.”

Estelle Hedaya was the last person found missing in the Surfside condo collapse

Estelle Hedaya was the last person found missing in the Surfside condo collapse (Photo: AP)

Woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial where the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Florida

A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial where the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Fla. (Photo: Getty Images)

Estelle’s funeral has been set for Tuesday.

A search and rescue effort began for nearly two weeks, as families of the victims continued to hope their loved ones would be shot alive. But a survivor was last found in the rubble an hour after the collapse.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the death toll could rise further.

“There might be someone there that nobody reported,” the mayor told NBC News.

Contact our press team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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