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.”
‘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’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.
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