A Long Island native’s body was recovered on Friday, more than two weeks after the woman was reported missing in the Surfside, Fla. condominium collapse on June 24.
Judy Spiegel, 65, was originally from Plainview and lived in the Champlain Towers South building with her husband, according to a report from CBS New York’s Jessica Layton. Spiegel’s two children, Rachel and Josh, confirmed to Layton that their mother was missing the day after the collapse, but their father was not home that night and was safe.
“We have identified nine additional victims that sadly and unexpectedly lost their lives in the tragic Surfside building collapse,” Miami-Dade County Police officials said in a statement confirming Judy’s death. “Please keep their families and loved ones in your prayers.”
On Monday, the death toll from the collapse rose to 94, with 22 people still unaccounted for. Another native Long Islander, Gary Cohen, was confirmed dead in the collapse last week.
#UPDATE 78: We have identified nine additional victims that sadly and unexpectedly lost their lives in the tragic Surfside building collapse. Please keep their families and loved ones in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/MvwXiY0c4U
— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) July 12, 2021
“The process of making identifications has become more difficult as time goes on, and the recovery at this point is yielding human remains,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
With no survivors rescued from the ruins since the first few hours after the collapse, officials last week declared that their search effort had switched from rescue to recovery.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said security is being tightened at the site due to the importance of the location to families who lost loved ones.
A debate has already begun in the community over what to do with the site, with some people eager for it to be turned into a memorial for the victims.
“It’s much more than a collapsed building. It is a holy site,” Burkett said.
-With Reuters (Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Barbara Goldberg in Maplewood, New Jersey; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Steve Orlofsky)