wplg logo

Surfside condo collapse: Montreal woman came for vacation with friend who was visiting father

Anastasia Gromova, 24, came to Surfside from Canada with her friend, Michelle Pazos, to visit Michelle's father in Apartment 412.
Anastasia Gromova, 24, came to Surfside from Canada with her friend, Michelle Pazos, to visit Michelle's father in Apartment 412. (Family provided photograph)

SURFSIDE,Fla. – Anastasia Gromova met her friend Michelle Anna Pazos when they were juniors at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The 24-year-old had just been accepted to a program teaching English to students in Japan. She was a writer and was employed as a copywriter for Montreal marketing and advertising agency, Cossette, where she had worked for three years.

Gromova was identified as recovered from Champlain Towers South on Wednesday. Miami Dade Police said she was recovered on Sunday, July 18.

Her friend, Michelle, invited her to Surfside for a vacation where they could stay with Michelle’s father, Miguel Ángel Pazos, in Apartment 412 in his condo on the beach.

The trip to Florida was supposed to be a last vacation together for the best friends before Gromova left for Japan, according to the CBC.

[MORE: Who Are They? Stories Of The Victims | LA Exec Arrived Night Before To Visit Parents]

Gromova’s father, Sergiy Gromov, who flew to Florida from Toronto on June 27 when he learned of the collapse, told the Associated Press: “She always wanted to do as much as possible with her life. It seems like she knew that it was not going to last long.”

In this undated photo provided by Sergiy Gromov, Anastasia Gromova, right, is shown with her best friend Michelle Pazos. (Sergiy Gromov via AP)

At McGill, she received a bachelor’s of commerce degree in marketing and spent a semester abroad in Australia at the University of Queensland, which she wrote about in a story “What I Learned from Living Like an Aussie for 6 Months.”

The last time Larysa Gromova heard from her daughter was through a message on WhatsApp.

“ . . . The last thing (she sent) was ‘I love you,’ ” her mother told the CBC.

Michelle was recovered on Friday, July 9. Her father, Miguel, the day before.

According to Miami-Dade Police Department’s most recent update, as of the evening of July 21, 97 victims have been identified, including 96 victims recovered from the collapse and one victim who passed away in the hospital, and 97 families have been notified. 242 people are accounted for, and 97 missing persons reports were opened with the Miami-Dade Police Department. MDPD said they believe there is one victim not yet identified.

Miami-Dade Police released the name of an additional victim, Linda March, 58, who they said was recovered on Monday, July 5, however the confirmation only reported on Wednesday, July 21.

March, 58, an attorney from New York moved to Surfside after a tough battle with COVID-19, a friend said. She had lived in Miami before and thought the nice weather would be good for her health.

MDPD has not released information about Estelle Hedaya, who lived on the sixth floor. Hedaya, was director of operations at Continental Buying Group (CBG) and Preferred Jewelers International. She was 54. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Hedaya had been involved in the jewelry industry since high school, her employer said.


About the Author:

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.