I-35W bridge collapse: List of victims
known dead *Julia Blackhawk, 32, Savage, Minn. *Richard Chit, 20, Bloomington, Minn. *Paul Eickstadt, 51, Mounds View, Minn. *Sherry Engebretsen, 60, Shoreview, Minn. *Peter Hausmann, 47, Rosemount, Minn. *Patrick Holmes, 36, Mounds View *Vera Pe...
*Julia Blackhawk, 32, Savage, Minn.
*Richard Chit, 20, Bloomington, Minn.
*Paul Eickstadt, 51, Mounds View, Minn.
*Sherry Engebretsen, 60, Shoreview, Minn.
*Peter Hausmann, 47, Rosemount, Minn.
*Patrick Holmes, 36, Mounds View
*Vera Peck* (Chit's mother), 50, Bloomington
*Christina Sacorafas-Mosher*, 45, White Bear Lake
*Hanah Sahal, 2, St. Paul
*Sadiya Sahal (Sahal's mother), 23, St. Paul
*Artemio Trinidad-Mena, 29, Minneapolis
*Greg Jolstad, 45, Mora, Minn.
*Scott Sathers, 29, Maple Grove, Minn.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The remains of two more I-35W bridge collapse victims were identified Thursday before divers temporarily left the Mississippi River to make room for debris-removal crews.
Using two huge cranes, excavation drills and blow torches, workers continued cutting through twisted steel beams, girders and pavement in hopes of locating the remains of what they believe are the last two victims of the Aug. 1 collapse.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said Vera Peck, 50, drowned. Her vehicle was pulled from the river Wednesday night. Christina Sacorafas-Mosher, 45, died from blunt-force injuries. Her vehicle was removed at 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
That puts the confirmed death toll at 11. Still missing and presumed dead are Greg Jolstad, 45, a construction worker from Mora, Minn., and Scott Sathers, 29, of Maple Grove, Minn.
Randy Mitchell, a Defense Department spokesman at the wreckage site, said Navy and FBI divers were working hand-in-hand with Bolander & Sons crews to clear debris and improve access for divers.
Authorities say they've removed about 80 of the 88 vehicles at the collapse site.
"There's a lot of decking, steel beams and girders that need to be removed ... before the divers can go back in and assess it again," Mitchell said.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said the divers are"chewing up debris and getting it out of the river." In some cases, they have to cut through 13 feet of concrete and rebar to get to vehicles, he said.
After two weeks of recovery efforts, Stanek said the workers are "very focused" on the job, but the work is taking a mental toll. "You're human," Stanek said. "We all have families. Sometimes the job and the personal side can cross over."
Peck was pregnant with her second child when she emigrated to Minnesota from Cambodia in 1980, according to her sponsor at the time, Yanat Chhith. Peck is survived by her daughters Pollee Chit and Caroline Chit, who both live in the metro area.
Peck's third child, 20-year-old Richard Chit, was with her when the bridge collapsed two weeks ago, trapping their vehicle under the wreckage of cars and concrete roadway. Chit's remains were recovered over the weekend. The two lived in St. Anthony, Minn., according to the medical examiner.
"Obviously, we are in mourning right now," David Chit, Richard's father and Peck's former husband, said Thursday.
Peck worked for 22 years as a production operator on an assembly line at Seagate Technology in Bloomington, Minn., before leaving her job last year.
A Cambodian memorial service was held last Saturday for Peck and her son, and a church service is being planned.
Sacorafas-Mosher was on her way to teach a Greek dance class for children at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis when she called a friend at 5:57 p.m. Aug. 1, apologizing for being late because she was stuck in traffic. The bridge fell eight minutes later.
Her father, Nick Sacorafas, was in the Twin Cities to receive the news that her remains had been found. He is on leave from his job as an adjunct professor at Mesa College in San Diego, a school official said.
Born in Detroit,Sacorafas-Mosher moved to San Diego after high school. She came to White Bear Lake, Minn., from the San Diego area in 2004.
Friends in her dance group and church described her as a vibrant, loving woman who loved to quilt, sew and sing in the choir. She was deeply proud of her Greek heritage.
"She was a very loving and caring person," said the Rev. Paul Paris of St. Mary's. "She became very involved in the church in a short time."
Sacorafas-Mosher was facing sentencing in September for a felony theft charge in connection with her former employer in San Diego. Her attorney, William Daley, said Thursday that the judge and district attorney were in agreement that the charge would be reduced and she would serve no jail time.
Daley had e-mailed her the day of the collapse to find out if she knew anyone who was hurt. Several days later, he learned she was a victim.
Paris said that Sacorafas-Mosher was in a great mood the last time he saw her, three days before the collapse.
The day of the collapse, congregants prayed for the victims. "It just knocked the wind out of people when they heard" later that Sacorafas-Mosher was a victim, he said.
She had sewn costumes for the children's dance group. Paris said they were found in her apartment, "so we still have a little piece of her."
Paris said it's been a long wait, but Sacorafas-Mosher's family is relieved there can be a funeral, he said.
"They are doing as well as anybody can expect. It's remarkable to see people's strength at this time," he said.