SURFSIDE, Fla. – The city of North Bay Village confirmed Wednesday that the mother of Police Chief Carlos Noriega was the latest victim to be pulled from the rubble in Surfside following last week’s partial building collapse.
Hilda Noriega had recently turned 92.
“The Noriega family was notified last evening of the recovery and positive identification of his mother from the Champlain Towers South catastrophic scene,” a statement posted on Twitter by the city read. “The family would like to thank all the hundreds of first responders, who bravely and selflessly risked their lives to locate his mother and the other innocent victims found to date.”
Noriega arrived to the scene last Thursday with first responders to find his mother’s apartment was gone. He told his family that amid the heartbreak, he noticed he was stepping on an envelope and he picked it up.
“On the outside, it was addressed to Hilda and the card had butterflies on it and it was a birthday card signed by her prayer group,” said Sally Noriega, Hilda Noriega’s daughter-in-law.
Noriega’s 36-year-old son, Michael Noriega, said his grandmother had just received the birthday card during a brunch. He said they were in disbelief.
“The Noriegas have lost their ‘heart and soul’ and ‘matriarch’ of their family, but will get through this time by embracing the unconditional love Hilda was known for,” the city’s statement read. “The family has asked for privacy as they deal with this horrific and painful loss.”