‘Waiting for a miracle’: Families wait for news of family who live in Surfside condo

Published: June 25, 2021 5:48 PM EDT

Most families waiting for news at the reunification center in Surfside are hopeful, but every minute that passes without information the fear gets stronger.

Sergio Barth is missing three family members. He hasn’t heard from his brother Luis and his niece and sister-in-law.

“When I saw the building I just, I just realized they were inside,” Barth said. “He’s the only brother I have.:

Barth said his brother is like a father to him.

“I lost my father 20 years ago,” Barth said.

Batina Obias is missing an aunt and uncle.

“When I saw it I screamed and cried because I know they were gone,” Obias said.

Obias said her uncle and aunt lived on the tenth floor of the 12-story Champlain Towers South. Her aunt, Maria, is an artist. Her uncle is an employee for the United Nations.

“She was my second mom,” Obais said of Maria. “I lived with her for 10 years.”

Obias said: “Believe in God and please every time you see your aunt, your mom, your father, hug them like it’s the last day of their life.”

Abriana LaFont is missing her ex-husband Manny.

“They don’t lose their hope to find their dad, they know Manny is a very strong guy, full of life,” LaFont said.

LaFont said her two children are waiting for their dad to return.

The two children were with Manny in his condo and left just three hours before the tower fell. Despite the enormous shock and tragedy of what happened, she said she feels blessed her babies were spared.

LaFont is grateful but she is also afraid.

She is thankful her kids are OK but afraid her ex-husband is not.

“I feel like they are born again and I can hug them and kiss them and that keeps me going,” LaFont said. “So I’m just waiting for Manny. I’m just waiting for him … Oh Manny, we are waiting for you … the kids and we want to hug you and tell you how much we love you and that everything is going to be OK.”

Most families at the reunification center are strangers to one another brought together by the crumpling of their homes.

“We are like 150 families just waiting for a miracle,” Barth said.