The body of a missing American was found in the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Haiti, his family learned Monday.
Brendan Beck was an engineer who had arrived in Port-au-Prince just hours before the massive earthquake. He, along with several other Americans also staying in the hotel, had been unaccounted for since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the country last month.
“I was relieved because they found him and I really, really, really wanted him found,” says his mother, Sally Baldwin, of Fort Worth. “But it was so hard because it was so final. I guess there was always that little ray of hope and that made it very final that's he's gone.”
Over the weekend, crews found the remains of several Americans inside the collapsed hotel.
On Sunday, Lynn University announced the remains of its last unaccounted for student had also been found.
Britney Gengel, a sophomore at the university in Boca Raton, Fla., was the fourth and final student to be found dead inside the hotel.
Beck had also been staying at the Hotel Montana, but he was not affiliated with the college group.
His mother, along with other victims’ families, feared their loved ones remains would never be found.
After the disaster, she and other families grew furious at the U.S. State Department’s seemingly slow response.
It prompted Baldwin to fly to Washington D.C. to lobby members of Congress and pressure the government for more answers.
Shortly after her trip, families began getting daily briefings from the disaster site and a promise every American would be recovered.
“I can look myself in the mirror and say I know I did everything I did to make sure my son came home,” Baldwin says. “I wanted to make sure that I felt that way, and I know I feel I did everything I possibly could.”
His family has set up a fund through the University of Florida’s College of Engineering to encourage research on how to make structures more resistant to natural disasters.