DORAL, Fla. – Four-year-old Emma Guara and her 11-year-old sister Lucia “Lulu” Guara were buried together Tuesday afternoon in a white coffin adorned with pink and purple bows. They were buried along with their parents, Anaely Rodriguez, 42, and Marcus Guara, 52.
During the family’s funeral liturgy at St. Joseph Catholic Church, a parish a few blocks away from where the family died at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Marcus Guara’s cousin Peter Milián said he believed God had blessed Guara and Rodriguez.
“I truly believe God watched over them by not making them suffer without Lucia and Emma,” Milián said.
A search-and-rescue team recovered the bodies of the girls and their mother on June 30th and Marcus Guara’s body about two days after the collapse. That same day the Archdiocese of Miami received a message from Pope Francis offering prayers “that Almighty God will grant eternal peace to those who have died, comfort to those who mourn their loss, and strength to all those affected.”
St. Joseph’s Rev. Juan J. Sosa said his parish has more than a dozen other members whose bodies have not been recovered from the rubble at 8777 Collins Ave. On Tuesday evening, the official death toll of the June 24th collapse was at 36 and 109 remained unaccounted for.
The pain of the tragedy in Surfside also reached Miami Beach, Brooklyn, Queens, and Sydney, Australia.
Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, and Ingrid “Itty” Ainsworth, 66, former residents of Sydney, had a big family and they were in Surfside to be close to relatives. Chabad reported the Ainsworths’ son and daughter-in-law had a baby girl on the day of the building collapse.
Crews recovered their bodies on Monday in Surfside, and by Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of members of the Orthodox Jewish community lined up to pay their respects to Tzvi Ainsworth and Itty Ainsworth during a procession in New York City.
There was a service at Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn and interment was at the Old Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.
In Miami Beach, Jeanette Marie Nuñez, the lieutenant governor of Florida, and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava attended the service for Hilda Noriega Tuesday morning. There was a procession with uniformed police motormen.
The service for Noriega, the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega, was held at St. Patrick Catholic Church, a parish south of Surfside in Miami Beach. The matriarch of the Noriega family was 92 and an active member of her church.
Crews recovered her body out of the rubble on June 30. Her loved ones believe she left them a spiritual message of hope. While exploring the area where a section of the 12-story building turned into a mountain of pancaked concrete, her son, Carlos Noriega, and grandson, Mike Noriega, recovered a birthday card. She had recently received it from members of her prayer group.
Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.