Missing man's body recovered at Iowa apartment collapse site; two others still missing

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This photo combo shows from left, Branden Colvin, Ryan Hitchcock, and Daniel Prien. The Davenport Fire Department and the Davenport Police Department are seeking information, Friday, June 2, 2023, regarding the whereabouts of the individuals and is believed that these three individuals have high probability of being home at the time of the partial building collapse in Davenport, Iowa on Sunday. (Davenport Police Dept. via AP)

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Recovery efforts continued Monday at the site of a partially collapsed building in Davenport, Iowa, where one man was found dead and two others remain missing.

Branden Colvin Sr.’s body was recovered Saturday, city spokeswoman Sarah Ott said. Two other men — 51-year-old Ryan Hitchcock and 60-year-old Daniel Prien — are still unaccounted for. Colvin, 42, is the first person confirmed to have died in the collapse.

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No other details were immediately released. Prien’s daughter, Nancy Prien Frezza, told The Associated Press Monday that she has not received any updates on the search for her father.

The discovery of Colvin’s body came after authorities announced Friday that the search for survivors had been completed, with attention turning to shoring up the remaining structure so recovery efforts could begin. There were no additional news conferences over the weekend; the city planned an update Monday morning.

City officials had said earlier that Colvin, Hitchcock and Prien had “high probability of being home at the time of the collapse." Searching for them has proven to be extremely dangerous. The remains of the six-story apartment building were constantly in motion in the first 24 to 36 hours after it collapsed on May 28, putting rescuers at great risk.

“We are doing the best we can to balance the building conditions and the safety of our responders,” Fire Chief Mike Carlsten told reporters. He said conditions have forced a response that may take “days and weeks” instead of what ideally would have been minutes or hours.

Mayor Mike Matson has said the debris pile “could be a place of rest for some of the unaccounted.”

Unresolved questions include why neither the owner nor city officials warned residents about potential danger. A structural engineer’s report issued days before the collapse indicated a wall of the century-old building was at imminent risk of crumbling.

Documents released by the city show that city officials and the building’s owner had been warned for months that parts of the building were unstable.

Tenants also complained to the city in recent years about a host of problems they say were ignored by property managers, including no heat or hot water for weeks or even months at a time, as well as mold and water leakage from ceilings and toilets. While city officials tried to address some complaints and gave vacate orders to individual apartments, a broader evacuation was never ordered, records show.

Current and former residents told The Associated Press about interior cracks on the wall that ultimately collapsed that were reported to building management.

Andrew Wold, the building’s owner, released a statement dated May 30 saying “our thoughts and prayers are with our tenants.” He has made no statement since then, and efforts to reach him, his company and a man believed to be his attorney have been unsuccessful.

County records show Davenport Hotel L.L.C. acquired the building in a 2021 deal worth $4.2 million.