Families torn apart by Hurricane Ian as death toll continues

Published: November 18, 2022 6:29 PM EST
Updated: November 19, 2022 6:01 AM EST

Families lost loved ones, and Fort Myers Beach will never be the same after Hurricane Ian took its toll on residents and Southwest Florida.

Bob Campbell is one of the unfortunate people who lost a family member in the storm.

Campbell survived Ian in his home right next door to his sister, Martha Campbell, on Hercules Drive.

It was and still is hard to believe Martha didn’t make it out alive.

“I was in a tree, and I watched her house gradually fall to the ground under the water and knew she was in there. But there was nothing, of course, we could do at the time,” Campbell said.

Building severely damaged by Hurricane Ian on Fort Myers Beach. CREDIT: WINK News

A newly released death report states that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office found Martha’s body underneath debris from the storm that was on the mangroves and floating in the water, still wearing a necklace.

“Not so sure it’s really hit me. It does, I guess on a daily basis, but it hasn’t quite hit me yet,” Campbell said.

A separate death report details the harrowing story of another victim.

A group in Southwest Florida was on vacation to celebrate Nishelle Harris-Mile’s birthday.

But then, the celebration twisted into a tragedy.

The report states, Nishelle’s sister told law enforcement the group had no clue the storm was coming to Fort Myers Beach until late the night before.

They called resources like Uber and 911 in an attempt to get out of town.

And were told no resources could respond, so Nichelle and the three she was with took shelter on the second floor of the Hideaway Village Motel.

Water began to rush in and pushed them all to the top of the room.

Quickly, the entire hotel began filling with water until the structure reached its breaking point and collapsed.

They floated in the water under the roof, and Nichelle drowned.

Law enforcement found Nichelle’s body the Monday after the storm.

Nichelle was one of the 61 people who died because of Ian in Lee County.