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Woman whose voice was heard in Surfside condo collapse rubble identified as music executive

Rescue crews could hear the voice of Theresa Velasquez, 36, but could not reach her, authorities have said. Her body was recovered on July 8.
The Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, FL
Rescue personnel work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, FL on June 25, 2021.Gerald Herbert / AP Photo file

A woman whose voice could be heard by rescue crews from the rubble of the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside, Florida, last June has been identified.

On Tuesday, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department said it was the voice of 36-year-old Theresa Velasquez that first responders had heard from the rubble, but could not reach.

Velasquez was a Los Angeles-based music executive for Live Nation Entertainment, NBC Miami reported. Her body was recovered on July 8, two weeks after the building collapsed.

The 36-year-old had told first responders she was at the Surfside condo to visit her parents, the fire department said. Both of her parents, Julio and Angela Velasquez, also died in the collapse, according to NBC Miami.

In a statement shared with NBC Miami, Live Nation described Velasquez as "an impassioned leader" who "elevated every project she was part of, at the same time breaking down barriers for women, and the LGBTQIA+ community."

“We will always remember and honor the impact she made, and will miss her dearly," the company said. NBC News has contacted Live Nation for further comment.

The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominiums collapsed in the early hours of June 24 in a deadly incident that saw residents buried under rubble. At least 98 people were killed in the collapse, which occurred during a 40-year structural review of the residence, according to The Associated Press.

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department said first responders had first been alerted to Velasquez's presence after search and rescue dogs "picked up a live victim scent underneath the parking garage."

Rescuers started calling out and could eventually make out the faint responses of the woman, but were unable to rescue her in time.

The fire department noted that previous news reports had identified the person believed to have been trapped under the rubble as 14-year-old victim Valeria Barth. However, the fire department said the evidence suggested the victim was in fact, Velasquez.

The collapse sparked a number of lawsuits. Earlier this month, a nearly $1 billion tentative settlement was reached in a class-action lawsuit launched by the families of victims and survivors of the incident.

Meanwhile, in December, a Florida grand jury laid out a list of recommendations to prevent such a collapse from happening again, including carrying out inspections earlier and more often.