“Usually, the reports are coming from a distant relative, or someone who wasn’t 100 percent sure if they lived there, but that they may have been in the building,” said Rachel Johnson, a Miami-Dade County spokeswoman. “It’s not verified.”
With those who are unaccounted for now presumed dead, in addition to the 54 confirmed dead, it means more than twice as many people were killed in the Surfside building collapse as in Hurricane Andrew. Andrew, a Category 5 storm that left at least 61 dead in 1992, has long been the benchmark for devastation in Florida.
Katherine Fernández Rundle, the state attorney for Miami-Dade County, said on Wednesday that she had asked a grand jury to examine how any future structural collapses, like the one in Surfside, might be prevented. The review would take place “pending the conclusion of the long-term investigation that will yield the cause of the collapse,” she said in a statement.
“I hope as a result of their work,” she said of the grand jury, “the people of Miami-Dade will be able to rest better and sleep soundly knowing they are safe in their homes.”
Sergio Barth, the owner of a youth soccer academy in the Miami area, said on Wednesday that the shift in officials’ priorities after days of waiting for news of his loved ones was, in its way, a kind of positive development.
Mr. Barth wanted to know the status of his older brother Luis Barth, 51, a lawyer who had been visiting Florida from Colombia, as well as Luis Barth’s wife, Catalina Gomez, and their 14-year-old daughter, Valeria.
“For me, it’s better,” Sergio Barth wrote in a text message. “So they can find my beloved family.”
Mr. Berdeaux and his wife, Linda Howard, of Daytona Beach, Fla., learned that Ms. Howard’s sister, Ms. Sabino, was officially named among the dead at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. The news was delivered by local police officers who came to their door.
It was later, Mr. Berdeaux said, that he learned the search-and-rescue mission would be called off.
Mr. Berdeaux said the rescue teams had been “exemplary” in their efforts. “They left nothing to chance,” he said. “Nothing. Every opportunity that they had to do something, they took advantage of it, every single thing.”
Giulia Heyward contributed reporting from Surfside. Campbell Robertson and Audra D. S. Burch also contributed reporting.