Sometimes there are no words to describe the profound grief seen at the Surfside memorials.
Laura Hernandez held tight to a friend, knowing Stella Cattarossi, a seven-year-old girl she babysat, remains unaccounted for in the Champlain Towers South tragedy.
“When I saw the building, I just started crying like I couldn’t believe this is happening,” said Laura Hernandez.
What’s worse, the child’s mother, aunt and grandparents are also believed to be in the rubble. The Cattarossis are five of the 150 people still missing, whose photos adorn three memorials built near the collapse site. Hernandez shared her grief just as the clouds opened up.
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“Every night I just pray to God if there’s a miracle, I hope I hope they’re still alive even though it’s hard. I still have the hope in my heart and if not, at least I pray that they didn’t suffer,” said Hernandez through tears.
That anguish profound for so many who wept as they paid their respects Tuesday. They try to wrap their heads around what happened, without having the answers they long for.
“By the days pass, it’s super difficult to understand maybe we don’t have the expectation that maybe somebody could be alive still. It’s so heartbreaking,” said Hernandez.
14-year-old Macarena Datorre came to light candles for her middle school basketball coach, Manuel LaFont.
“He was a good guy, a good coach. He was serious, he wanted everyone to do well, but also very fun and he would always congratulate us after games and we won all of our games because of his coaching.”
Search and rescue teams recovered Lafont's body from the rubble on Friday, he lived on the 8th foot. Those who knew him were at a loss for words knowing he leaves behind a daughter.
“I feel so bad, it’s terrible, this is terrible,” said Carmen, Macarena Datorre’s mother.