The remains of 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya, a former Brooklynite and the final victim of the deadly Florida condo collapse, have been identified, authorities said Monday night.
Hedaya, whose family lives in Midwood, moved to Florida in 2015 to start a new chapter in life, according to ABC7, who reported that funeral services are expected as early as today in her family’s home borough.
Her younger brother, Ikey Hedaya, confirmed the news to The Associated Press just days after rescuers officially concluded the recovery of bodies at the site of the June 24 collapse. Hedaya was the 98th and final victim — 97 of whom authorities believe were killed outright when the Champlain Towers South combo collapsed in the middle of the night. The other victim died while hospitalized.
Hedaya lived on the sixth floor of the 12-story condominium complex.
“Today I can report, because of the sustained heroic efforts, the last remaining missing person has now been accounted for and identified and the family notified,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told the media on July 26. “Through these tireless efforts we were able to at least bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones.”
The Miami-Dade fire department’s tireless search for additional victims at the beachfront site was demobilized last Friday. Hedaya’s remains were found by search teams on July 20, officials said, and medical examiners had been working since then to positively identify her.
Her body is set to be returned to Midwood, though her remains were reportedly still in custody of the county Medical Examiner’s Office Monday afternoon.
Speaking with the Associated Press, Ikey said his sister had immense faith in God — something he’s been channeling in the weeks since the collapse. “She always mentioned God anytime she was struggling with anything,” he said.
In an interview with CNN prior to the discovery of her remains, Ikey said Hedaya was at the “apex of her life,” and that she loved to work out, dance, and travel.
“I firmly believe God helped her get to her best point in life and then decided best for her to go out on top,” he said.