Surfside condo collapse

‘It's Hard to Absorb': Relatives Remember Couple Who Died in Surfside Collapse

Claudio and Maricoy Bonnefoy likely sleeping in condo when Surfside condo collapsed

NBC Universal, Inc.

UPDATE: On Friday night, Miami-Dade police have identified Claudio and Maricoy (Maria) Bonnefoy as two of the victims that passed in the Surfside condo collapse.

This story was posted just hours before the couple was identified.

Maricoy Bonnefoy, 69, is the shining light of her family.

“She’s more than an aunt to me," said niece Bettina Obias. “She was like my mother. I lived with her for over seven years when I was a young teenager. She’s my guide, she’s my heart. She was the heart and soul of the family. And she was the glue that kept us together."

But last week would be the last time Obias would hear from her aunt and uncle, Claudio Bonnefoy, who is also the uncle to the former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Obias says her uncle didn’t leave the condo because of the pandemic. He felt it was more safe to stay inside.

The couple was likely sleeping inside their condo at unit 1001 until the Champlain Towers South abruptly came crashing down early Thursday morning.

“It’s hard to absorb that place was once a beautiful place and my aunt is still there," said Obias. "It’s just so gut-wrenching. It’s just hard to wrap my head around what has happened to her.”

Obias had just flown into town that morning for what was supposed to be a family gathering.

"I flew in from Washington DC at 4:00 in the morning and I got here at 6:00 without knowing that this was happening," said Obias. “And then when I took the left to come here, I just couldn’t believe, especially when I was walking, it started raining, I was pulling my luggage and then I saw my aunt's place and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I just cried and screamed and cried because I knew they were down there.”

At that moment her life was changed forever, left with only memories of her aunt who gave so much to others.

"She was always trying to do something positive,” said Obias. “Helping the poor, doing something creative, doing something positive."

Obias met with President Joe Biden and the First Lady during their visit to Surfside Thursday.

“I felt this lightness about him,” said Obias, describing the President. “We are so blessed that he came and so grateful.”

Contact Us