A body believed to be that of missing worker Robert Budhoo has been officially confirmed by police -- but may take days more to recover from the rubble of a collapsed parking garage on the Miami Dade College Doral campus.
The instability of layers of collapsed steel and concrete have created serious safety concerns for those in the recovery effort, said Miami-Dade Police Det. Roy Rutland, and therefore it may be "additional days" before the remains can be removed from a "deep" location.
Rutland said that because the body has not yet been recovered, it cannot be officially identified as Budhoo's. But since the 53-year-old Tamarac man is the only person unaccounted for since the garage collapsed last Wednesday, a "totality of circumstances" have led investigators to believe it is him.
"Investigators have met privately with the Budhoo family and briefed them on the latest development and they are now asking for privacy during this sensitive time," Rutland said in a statement.
Budhoo's family has been holding out hope he was alive in the pile. But Miami-Dade Fire Rescue K-9s alerted to the spot hours after the collapse last week, where investigators found blood -- and little chance anyone could have survived in that particular location.
Rutland said Monday it was confirmed that the person had not been alive and suffering under the rubble.
A crane was assembled to assist in the recovery effort, but Budhoo's family had been frustrated by what they felt to be slow progress and called for round-the-clock shifts.
"My husband deserves better than this. He's a good man, he deserves respect," his wife, Laurel Budhoo, told the Miami Herald on Saturday. "If he's alive they're not trying to save him, and if he's dead, they're leaving him to rot."
It is still not clear what may have caused one portion of the $24 million, 5-story garage to collapse just months from completion. Contractor Ajax Building Corporation confirmed an incident in which a crane struck an outer column just days before the collapse, but said inspections revealed the column suffered no damage and it is still too early to speculate.
Of the dozens of workers estimated to have been inside the garage when one quadrant pancaked, two were killed immediately, Budhoo was believed to have been killed, and another died in hospital hours after his legs were amputated in order to extract him early Thursday morning. Others were less seriously injured.