Ilonka Knes: Remains of Florida woman, 82, who went missing since Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc found
FORT MYERS, FLORIDA: Human remains were discovered inside the mangroves of Fort Myers Beach in Florida, earlier this week. It has been revealed that these remains are of 82-year-old Ilonka Knes who has been missing since category 4 Hurricane Ian swept along Florida three months ago killing 139 people in the state.
A debris removal company found the remains on Tuesday, January 10, 2023, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at a news conference Thursday morning, NBC Miami reported. The identification was done through dental records and the county medical examiners determined the cause of death as accidental drowning.
The discovery, the police believed, will bring some closure to the families. A welfare check by deputies called on October, 7 could not locate Knes and subsequently, she was declared a missing person on October 15 last year.
The Sheriff further said that the area where Knes was found is impassible by boat and not even visible by the air. It as per other reports is around 0.1 miles away from her home. The storm reportedly killed 74 people in Lee County while two including Knes were classified as missing, the outlet mentioned. Her husband Bob was found dead immediately after the storm receded, near his home which was later reduced to rubble.
"Our major crime unit is working every single day on the one person missing," Marceno said. "We pray that we can find that person," Marceno said. James Hurst, 72, also went missing when he rode out of the storm on a sailboat in Fort Meyers.
Fort Myers Beach, a town of about 5,500 on one of the barrier islands off Fort Myers, was '90 percent' destroyed by the storm, officials previously said as per a report. "As time moves forward, the scars left by Ian will remind us how far we've come when we work together," Marceno said. "We will build back stronger than before and it takes all of us."
"These are not just two bodies - these are two loved ones - these are two family members," Marceno said as per the Daily Mail. It is being reported that Hurricane Ian was the most expensive storm in Florida ever, with Fort Myers deeply impacted by the deadly disaster and still struggling to bounce back even after months.