Who was Sophia Lopez Moreira? Body of Paraguay prez' sister-in-law found in Surfside condo rubble

With Sophia Lopez Moreira, her husband and their youngest child's bodies were also discovered


                            Who was Sophia Lopez Moreira? Body of Paraguay prez' sister-in-law found in Surfside condo rubble
Miami Surfside building after its collapse and Sophia López Moreira with family (Photos by Joe Raedle/Getty Images/[email protected])

The bodies of the Paraguay president’s sister-in-law, her husband, and their youngest child have been found on Thursday, July 8, inside the rubble after the deadly condo collapse in Surfside in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Paraguay Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo confirmed that Sophia Lopez Moreira’s remains were discovered along with those of her husband — Luis Pettengill — and their youngest child as the death toll rises to 64.

Sophia is the sister of Paraguay’s First Lady Silvana Lopez Moreira. She owned a condo inside the Champlain Towers, where she used to live with her husband and three young kids. The tragedy happened just a few hours after the family had received their coronavirus vaccine. Also, it was Luis’ birthday. However, there was no information about Sophia’s other two missing children. Apart from them, the family’s 23-year-old nanny, Leidy Luna Villalba, was also missing. She came to Florida to work so that she can help her struggling family, and pay her way through nursing school.

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Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that since the tragedy, only 40 bodies have been identified. She also said that the final death toll could go as high as 140. Speaking with CNN, Cava added: “Our Miami-Dade County Task Force 1 members, who've been here since the beginning, they could go home, but they're still here,” despite its being clear that finding anyone alive in the rubble is next to impossible.

Rescue and personnel workers confer as they recover remains of the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 08, 2021 in Surfside, Florida (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, besides Sophia and her family, Miami-Dade police also identified five more victims of the collapse. One of them was 32-year-old Juan Alberto Mora Jr, who came to visit his parents Ana and Juan Mora Sr from Chicago at the time. Oscar Cepero, a fellow classmate of Mora's from Miami's Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, said hours before the collapse they went together fishing. Cepero said, “I was like, this looks like his parent's place,' Cepero said. 'I went to the reunification place and was looking around for them, but nobody was providing information.” The bodies of Mora Jr’s parents have not been found yet.

Another identified victim is 56-year-old architect Andrea Cattarossi, who came to visit her sister Graciela Cattarossi, her seven-year-old daughter Stella Cattarossi and her parents Gino and Graciela Cattarossi from Argentina. Mariela Porras, a family friend of Cattarossi said: “I am angry that this happened. You can call it a tragedy, but to me it's sheer negligence.”

A 36-year-old doctor identified as Ruslan Manashirov also died in the collapse. He had recently tied the knot with Nicole Doran-Manashirov, 43. His family and friends have organized a GoFundMe to cover the family’s expenses. Susan DeRisi, a friend of the couple, said that Ruslan “just enveloped you with his personality.” The fundraising page has already raised $32,280 of its $50,000 goal.

An excavator carries away debris at the site of the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 08, 2021 in Surfside, Florida (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Another victim was Harry Rosenberg, 52. A Lakewood rabbi, and friend of the family, said: “[Rosenberg's] wife died last year of cancer, and both his parents died from Covid. That's one of the reasons he went down there, just to air out a little bit for a year.” Gloria Machado, 71, also died in the tragedy. She was on the 11th floor of the condo.

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