Florida Condo Collapse Teen Victim Struggles With Nightmares, Dad Still Missing

Photo: (Photo : Saul Martinez/Getty Image)

A 16-year-old survivor of the Florida condo collapse in Surfside has been struggling with nightmares as 121 individuals, including Deven Gonzalez's father, are still unaccounted for nearly two weeks after the incident. 

Three members of the Gonzalez family were on the ninth floor when half of the 12-story Champlain Towers South came crashing down in the early morning of June 24. Deven and her mother, Angela Gonzalez, were thrown to the fifth floor while dad, Edgar, has not been found yet. 

On the other hand, Deven's sister, Taylor, was not in the building when the Florida condo collapse occurred. She has been looking after Deven and Angela, who have been admitted to different hospitals for their injuries.

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According to the New York Post, Deven has been having nightmares about the tragedy as she was conscious when the building fell. She was also wide awake when the rescuers came, which included her volleyball coach, Amy Morgan. 

Coming to Terms With Tragedy

Morgan said that although Deven was conscious, she has no awareness of the scope of the Florida condo collapse, which grabbed the attention of the world. The coach believes that the 16-year-old is still coming to terms with what happened, especially since the family has yet to hear about Edgar. 

Deven has been "choked up" about her father and has repeatedly said he's still missing. The coach said that Deven's father was very supportive of his daughter's love for volleyball, and they have been holding a vigil for the lawyer's safety.

However, Morgan is happy to see that Deven is pulling through physically and has taken her first steps after surgery on her broken femur. The coach said that the 16-year-old had inherited the strength and drive of her parents.

Well-meaning friends of the family have opened a GoFundMe page for the Gonzalez family to help with the hospital bills since Angela will still have follow-up surgeries while she and Deven will need to undergo therapies for their full recovery. The community effort has raised $108,000 as of press time, with over 1,200 people donating to the cause. 

Because of their condition, Deven and Angela have not yet seen each other after the incident. However, they briefly had a video chat after Angela was free of her intubation tube and celebrated her birthday at the hospital.

Death Toll Rising

Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the Florida condo collapse continues to rise as the search and rescue operations and a controlled demolition took place on July 5. According to reports, at least three more bodies were pulled from the rubble while the search and rescue team expanded their operations. However, their efforts have been slowed down by wind and torrential rains due to Tropical Storm Elsa. 

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It's still unclear what caused the building to collapse as investigators are still piecing the details. However, a 2018 engineering report revealed that the 40-year-old building had structural deficiencies. 

In 2020, residents were also showed slides and videos of the design flaws and damage to the building, but it was unclear who made the presentation. In April 2021, the condominium's president wrote residents that the damage from the 2018 report appeared to have gotten worse.

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