Fort Worth family agonizes over fate of son in Haiti

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by JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 17 at 11:00 PM

FORT WORTH — A Fort Worth mother is desperately waiting for word about her son. Brendan Beck was an aid worker in Haiti, and his family hasn't heard from him since Tuesday's earthquake.

Beck, 35, is a civil engineer who was in Haiti for consulting work with the U.S. Agency for International Development. He arrived in Port-au-Prince just hours before the earthquake and had just checked into the Hotel Montana when it collapsed.

His mother, Sally Baldwin, is desperate for information. She hasn't heard from Brendan since he sent an e-mail message to her 11 minutes before the quake struck.

"It's like all the stars were aligned wrong," Baldwin said. "It’s surreal; I can't believe it's true."

Beck had been scheduled to fly into a different Haitian city, but that flight was canceled.

"The waiting is tortuous," Baldwin said, speaking by telephone from Florida. "Your emotions go from hysteria, to being strong and calm, and praying, knowing it's going to be okay — it's a roller coaster."

Brendan's father Barry Beck and other members of his family are now trying to get to Haiti. They plan to fly to the neighboring Dominican Republic on Sunday so they can be as close to the quake zone as possible to bring their son home.

"What I’m concerned about is when it turns from rescue to recovery they don’t forget about him, so we can bring him home," Barry Beck tearfully told News 8 from his home in North Carolina.

The Montana Hotel was considered among the nicest in Haiti, and many Americans were staying there, including a group of college students from Lynn University in Florida.

Matt DeMatteo of Southlake was one of those students volunteering in Haiti. He survived, yet several of his classmates remain missing.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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