DAVENPORT (Iowa) — A city official confirmed that the body of one of the three men, who were missing following a partial collapse in an apartment building, was found Sunday.
Sarah Ott, a city spokesperson, confirmed that Branden Colvin Jr.’s remains were recovered on Saturday. Still unaccounted for are two other men, Ryan Hitchcock (51 years old) and Daniel Prien (60 years old). Colvin, 42 years old, is the only person who has been confirmed to have perished in the collapse.
Other details have not been released.
The Quad-City Times announced that Colvin’s youngest son, Branden Colvin, Jr., had graduated high school on Saturday. The Colvin family had been there almost continuously, praying for a miracle.
Colvin’s remains were discovered a day after the authorities announced the search was complete. The focus now is on strengthening the structure to begin recovery efforts.
In the first 24 to 48 hours following the collapse of the six-story building on May 28, the remains were moving constantly. This posed a danger to the rescuers searching for survivors.
Officials from the city had stated earlier that Colvin Hitchcock, and Prien “highly probable” to be at home when the collapse occurred.
Rescuers are at high risk because the building is constantly shifting, and it’s dangerous to search. A task force in Iowa completed the search for survivors Thursday, and has now begun concentrating on strengthening the structure to aid recovery efforts.
“We’re doing our best to balance building conditions with the safety of the responders,” Fire chief Mike Carlsten said during a press briefing following the collapse. He said that the conditions forced him to take days and weeks instead of minutes or hours.
The Mayor Mike Matson said that the debris pile could be “a resting place for some of those who are unaccounted for.”
The demolition of the building is progressing despite questions as to why the city or the owner did not warn residents of potential dangerdespite a structural engineer report that was issued only days before the collapse indicating a wall in the 100-year-old building would be at risk of falling.
The city released documents that show city officials and building owner were warned that certain parts of the building are unstable for months.
In recent years, tenants have complained to the city about a variety of problems, which they claim were ignored by property management. These include no heat or hot running water for weeks, or even months, and mold growth on ceilings and in toilets. Records show that while city officials did try to address certain complaints and issued orders for individual apartments to vacate, no broader evacuation order was ever given.
The Associated Press reported that current and former residents had complained to the building management about cracks in the interior wall which eventually collapsed.
Andrew Wold released a May 30 statement saying that “our thoughts are with our tenants.” Since then, he has not made a statement, and attempts to contact him, his firm, or a man who is believed to be his lawyer have failed.
Records from the county show that Davenport Hotel L.L.C. The building was acquired in 2021 for $4.2 million.