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Photographer, daughter and three other family members all missing in collapse

SURFSIDE, Fla. – Five members of one family are among those still unaccounted for one week since the collapse.

Graciela Cattarossi, 48, is an independent photographer, whose photos have appeared in magazines such as Conde Nast, Martha Stewart Living, Vanity Fair and Travel and Leisure. But friends say what was most important to the single mother was her 7-year-old daughter, Estella.

Cattarossi lived in Apartment 501 at Champlain Towers South with, in addition to her daughter, her parents Graciela and Gino Cattarossi.

Her sister, Andrea, an architect in Pilar, Argentina, according to the Associated Press, was visiting the family and is missing along with the four others since the collapse.

Family friend Mariela Porras said that Andrea was visiting from Argentina to help with their father’s upcoming surgery.

Kathryn Rooney Vera, a friend who has known Cattarossi since 2008, told the Associated Press that the two were exchanging text messages on Wednesday night, just hours before the building collapsed.

“I am angry that this happened,” Porras said. “You can call it a tragedy, but to me it’s sheer negligence.”

Porras reached out to Local 10 News only hours after the collapse.

“I haven’t been able to get a hold of them,” she told us.

One week later, time has challenged her hope of a rescue.

“It hurts my heart to think that this happened to them. I feel so deeply for her family. I can’t image having no knowledge of where your five members are, no closure, no nothing. I pray to God that something turns up soon,” Porras said.

“It is something so confusing and you want to hope for the best, but being honest, it’s been seven days. They were in Unit 501 . . . so all those units above them. They have to dig through all that to get to them,” Porras said.

Family tells us that Graciela’s mother worked for the United Nations in the 1960s representing her home country of Uruguay. Andrea has three sons in Argentina hoping for her safe return.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help the Cattarossi family, but mostly, they said, to assist Andrea’s three sons.


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.