NYC woman identified as one of the missing in Florida building collapse

SURFSIDE, Florida -- Linda March has been identified as one of the missing in the Surfside, Florida building collapse.

March just moved to Surfside from New York City. She worked as a lawyer and rented a penthouse that can now be seen in the wreckage.


She eagerly traded her cramped New York apartment for fresh air and ocean views after surviving a COVID-19 infection.

Friends say March still uses an inhaler after living in New York City during September 11 and was looking to move out of the building soon, because the recent construction bothered her when she worked from home.

She rented Penthouse 4, whose interior was exposed, with bunk beds and an office chair still intact, just inside the broken edge where the rest of the 12-story building crumbled into a pile of debris.

March had been using the second bedroom of the furnished apartment as her office, best friend Rochelle Laufer told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Another friend, Dawn Falco, said they had been talking on the phone until just two hours before the disaster, and immediately began searching for word on her friend, who she said never leaves the house "without a smile."


"My heart is breaking as I see the office chair that she just purchased next to the bunkbeds," Falco said.

Florida was a new start for the 58-year-old attorney. In the past decade, she'd lost her sister and mother to cancer, her father died a few years later and she and her husband divorced. She had no children.

"She would say to me, 'I'm all alone. I don't have family,' and I would say, 'You're my sister, you don't have to be born sisters. And I said you always have me'," Laufer recounted through tears.

Laufer said March loved the ocean views but hated the incessant noise from nearby construction and had decided to break her lease. "She was looking for another apartment when this happened," Laufer said sadly.

Still, Laufer had been planning to visit her friend this fall.


"I joked I'm going to take the top bunk when I visit," she said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

RELATED | REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK: Follow Josh Einiger's updates in Florida
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Josh Einiger has the latest from Florida, as families wait for word about their loved ones trapped in the rubble.



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