Missing grandparents’ landline calling from Champlain Towers South condo, family says

One family says they received 16 calls from their grandparents' phone since the collapse and they only recently stopped.

SURFSIDE, Fla. – It has been three long days without word for so many from loved ones who are missing after the Champlain Towers South collapsed early Thursday morning.

Jake Samuelson’s grandparents, Arnie and Myriam Notkin, live in apartment 302 and the family is still waiting to hear from them. Or have they heard from them? Samuelson said his mother’s house line has been receiving calls from the Notkin’s landline phone that he said rested next to their bed.

But there is no human sound on the other end of the line, only static.

The family has received a total of 16 calls with the first one coming in the evening of the condo collapse at 9:50 p.m. Thursday. Part of the 12-story building came down around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Samuelson said when the first call came in, the family had a mix of emotions.

“We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mother, and we were just shocked and we kind of thought nothing of it because we answered, and it was static,” Samuelson said.

On Friday morning, when the family went to the reunification center, there were more calls – 15 more to be exact.

Every call after has been gut-wrenching because they don’t know if it’s actually the Notkins or something else.

“We are trying to rationalize what is happening here, we are trying to get answers,” Samuelson said about his grandparents. Arnie is known as a beloved physical education teacher and Myriam is a banker and real estate agent.

Samuelson said the family did not receive any calls on Saturday – the last one was Friday night.

Local 10 News tried calling the number and we got the sound of a busy signal.

The family is wondering if anyone else whose loved ones are missing have had the same experience.

We asked authorities earlier in the day about the calls and they said they are looking into it.

The Samuelsons have reached out to a detective, but they have not received any answers as of yet.

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About the Authors:

Sanela Sabovic joined Local 10 News in September 2012 as an assignment editor and associate producer. In August 2015, she became a full-time reporter and fill-in traffic reporter. Sanela holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in radio, television and film from DePaul University.

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of Local10.com's DigiShorts.