Beloved Daughter Is Last Person Still Missing After Surfside Condo Collapse: 'Heartbreaking'

·2 min read
Estelle Hedaya
Estelle Hedaya


While tons of rubble have been cleared from the site of the devastating Surfside, Florida condo collapse last month, one person remains missing.

Estelle Hedaya, who lived in unit 604 of the Champlain Towers South condo that fell in the early morning hours of June 24, is the final person unaccounted for in the tragedy, according to the Associated Press

"I can't believe Estelle is in there somewhere, and I didn't want to think about it," her brother, Ikey Hedaya, told the outlet of the pain he feels while waiting for an update. 

"I know God took care of her," he added. 

Video: How to help the families of the Surfside building collapse

At least 97 people have been confirmed dead over the four weeks since the building fell. While workers were able to retrieve a few victims in the hours following the accident, Florida officials ended rescue efforts on July 7 following the demolition of the standing portion of the building. They instead refocused on recovering and identifying victims' remains. 

The condo's debris have since been cleared, leaving only a few concrete slabs and support columns where the building once stood.

RELATED: 911 Calls from Surfside Condo Residents Detail Aftermath of Collapse: 'We've Gotta Get Out'

Surfside condo collapse
Surfside condo collapse

Joe Raedle/Getty Surfside condo collapse         

"They're closing the support room, there's nothing left, it's finished," Estelle's best friend, Lisa Shrem, told the Washington Post. "The site is even cleared below the foundation, so I feel like it's, 'Okay, close the book.'"

"What could be worse than that?" she added.

Linda Hedaya, Estelle's mother, hopes her daughter's remains are identified so the family can begin burial traditions in accordance with their Jewish faith.

"She's not in the place she's supposed to be," Linda told the outlet, explaining that she worries her daughter isn't resting. 

Some of the rubble is being stored in a warehouse for further investigation, and other items are being saved for family members to go through in the future, ABC affiliate WPLG reported.

RELATED VIDEO: Video Shows Moment Boy Is Rescued From Rubble of Collapsed Building

Until Estelle is found, her family and friends are finding support in each other and the many ways she impacted their lives. 

"It is the finality of never laughing with them again that is so heartbreaking," friend Leah Sutton told the AP. 

RELATED: Therapy Dogs Deployed to Ease Sadness, Stress at Site of Surfside Condo Collapse

Some aren't giving up hope, however small it may be, that she may be found alive. 

"Maybe she went out somehow, someway and is laughing at all of us and sipping tequila and lime on a beach in I don't know where, somewhere else," Estelle's friend Lisa told the Post. "That's the hope. But, you know, it's not realistic."