FORT MYERS, Fla. (WFLA) – A body found deep in the mangroves of Fort Myers Beach has been identified as a Hurricane Ian victim more than four months after the devastating storm battered Florida.
After the body was discovered on Tuesday, police used dental records to identify the body as 82-year-old Ilonka Knes.
According to NBC2 News, Knes’ neighbors said they hadn’t seen her since the hurricane hit. Knes reportedly lived right down the road from where her body was found.
“Trying to find everyone from the storm…that can’t be an easy task,” resident Thomas Vasquez told the outlet.
Two months ago, on Oct. 7, a wellness check was called in for the elderly woman. Lee County deputies, along with partners from other agencies responded, however, their attempts to locate her were unsuccessful.
After several attempts to locate her, she was officially listed as a missing person eight days later on Oct. 15.
Knes’ remains were found on Tropical Shores Way on Fort Myers Beach by a contracted debris removal company, the outlet reported.
During a press conference Thursday, Sheriff Carmine Marceno said the areas are impassable by boat and are not visible by air. Once the remains were located, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was contacted immediately.
NBC2 stated that Knes was one of the two people still missing from Ian. The Sheriff’s Office ruled the cause of death as an accidental drowning.
According to NBC News, Hurricane Ian claimed the lives of at least 148 people in Florida. The late September storm was one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the United States in the past 20 years, the site reported.