The body of one of three men missing after the partial collapse of an apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, has been found, a city official confirmed Sunday.
Branden Colvin Sr.’s body was recovered on Saturday, city spokeswoman Sarah Ott said. Two other men – 51-year-old Ryan Hitchcock and 60-year-old Daniel Prien – are still missing. Colvin, 42, is the first person known to have died in the collapse.
Further details were not initially announced. Prien’s daughter, Nancy Prien Frezza, told the Associated Press that she was not given any information about the search for her father.
The Quad-City Times reported that Colvin’s son, Branden Colvin Jr., graduated from high school on Saturday. He and other family members were at the collapse site almost constantly, hoping for a miracle.
The discovery of Colvin’s body came a day after authorities announced the search for survivors had been completed, with attention focused on supporting the structure so recovery efforts could begin.
The remains of the six-story apartment building were in constant motion for the first 24 to 36 hours after the collapse on May 28, which officials said posed a danger to rescuers trying to search for survivors.
City officials had previously said that Colvin, Hitchcock and Prien “were likely home at the time of the collapse.”
Authorities said searching the building was extremely dangerous – and that it was constantly moving and at risk of another collapse, putting rescuers at great risk. An Iowa task force Thursday completed the search for survivors and focused on strengthening structure for the recovery effort.
“We are doing our best to balance structural conditions and the safety of our responders,” Fire Chief Mike Carlsten told reporters during a briefing after the collapse. He said circumstances had forced a response that could take “days and weeks” rather than ideally minutes or hours.
Mayor Mike Matson said the pile of debris “could be a place of rest for some of those missing.”
Work on the building’s collapse progressed, although questions have been raised as to why neither the owner nor city officials had warned local residents of the potential hazard, even after a civil engineer’s report released just days before the collapse indicated that a wall of the centuries-old building is in immediate danger is crumbling.
Documents released by the city show that city officials and the building’s owner were warned for months that parts of the building were unstable.
Tenants have also complained to the city in recent years about a range of issues they say property managers have ignored, including lack of heat or hot water for weeks or even months, mold and water leaks from ceilings and toilets. While city officials tried to address some complaints and ordered individual apartments to be vacated, a fuller evacuation was never ordered, records show.
Current and former residents told the Associated Press of cracks inside the wall, which eventually collapsed and were reported to building management.
Andrew Wold, the building’s owner, released a May 30 statement that said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our tenants.” , who is believed to be his attorney, have been unsuccessful.
County records show that Davenport Hotel LLC acquired the building in 2021 for $4.2 million.
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