Live Updates: Miami area condo meltdown: NPR

Charles Burkett, Mayor of Surfside, Fla., (Left) chats with Rachel Spiegel, whose mother went missing in the South Champlain Towers collapse.

Lynne Sweet / AP

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Lynne Sweet / AP

Charles Burkett, Mayor of Surfside, Fla., (Left) chats with Rachel Spiegel, whose mother went missing in the South Champlain Towers collapse.

Lynne Sweet / AP

As rescuers continue to search for survivors among the rubble of the building collapse in Surfside, Florida., law enforcement detectives and crime scene personnel are working to identify the human remains recovered from the wreckage.

Identifying victims is a complicated process. At a press conference on Monday, Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo Ramirez III said the procedure depends on several variables, including the condition of the recovered remains.

Ramirez said crime scene investigators and staff from the medical examiner’s office are at the scene, along with firefighters, if a body is found.

If possible, a rapid DNA test is done and sent to a lab.

Relatives of the missing – the number of people missing stands at more than 150 – have been asked by law enforcement to submit their DNA to help identify bodies and human remains extracted from the rubble.

“At the time this sample is taken, this detective, this analyst will go directly to the family reunification center where he entered a system,” Ramirez said, so that he can be compared to the DNA of members of the family. A DNA profile match can be completed in under two hours.

The results should then be verified by a secondary protocol in the laboratory.

Partial matches are unacceptable, the police director said: “It must be 100% because we cannot re-victimize our family members and give them false information.”

If a positive match is made, the police connect with the next of kin.

“It’s very emotional,” Ramirez said. “What we’ve been through here, I think we’re all family now.”

When a rapid DNA test is possible, the whole process is usually completed within a day. If a rapid DNA test cannot be performed, the remains are taken to the medical examiner’s office for further identification.

Ramirez said the process is carried out with respect and integrity.

“We are facing a very terrible situation here,” he said. “That’s why we need to… always keep in mind our family members who are listening and watching right now.”

At a subsequent press briefing, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the Family Assistance Center needed to move to a larger space to accommodate the growing number of friends and family members. arriving.

Support center officials brief families on the rescue efforts and answer their many questions.

“We confronted them with the news that they may not see their loved ones come out alive, and still hope they will. They learn that some of their loved ones will come out as body parts,” Levine said. It’s okay. “This is the kind of information that is just excruciating for everyone.”

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