SURFSIDE, Fla. – Friends who saw the photo of Penthouse 4 on the 12th story of Champlain Towers South after the building had been ripped away knew that it was Linda March’s rental apartment. Despite the bunk beds, there were no children living with her, but those who knew her said she had set up a home office in that room. They recognized the office chair.
Miami-Dade Police said the 58-year-old was recovered on Monday, July 5; the confirmation wasn’t released until Wednesday, July 21.
March is one of the last victims to be identified in the collapse.
The real estate attorney from New York moved from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Surfside a few months ago, friends said, after a tough 2020 where she battled COVID-19. She had lived in Miami before and thought the nice weather would be good for her health.
Paula Silverman, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, said that March lived alone, was divorced and didn’t have children. Silverman said that March’s only sister died of cancer more than a decade ago and both of her parents subsequently passed away.
“She had a heart of gold,” Silverman told the Post, and would often dole out legal help free of charge.
According to a Rena Kaufman who recently spoke to March and had been close to her since they were teenagers in Flatbush, N.Y., the new tenant at Champlain Towers South had been complaining about issues with the foundation and ongoing construction.
“She was looking to move out, she was trying to get out as quickly as she could,” Kaufman told NY1.
In her professional life, March was an attorney and real estate professional, who in her own words on her Linked In profile, said that “she specialized in representing building owners, tenants, contractors, architects, developers and individuals . . .”
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.
That victim may be Estelle Hedaya, who lived on the sixth floor. A fellow New Yorker, she had become friends with March.
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.