Authorities use DNA analysis to identify final victim in deadly San Marcos fire

Victims killed in fire at Iconic Village Apartments

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator

Victims: Belinda Moats (top left), Dru Estes (upper middle), Haley Michelle Frizzell (top right), James Miranda (lower left), David Ortiz (lower right)

SAN MARCOS, Texas - Authorities used DNA analysis to identify the fifth and final victim of the San Marcos apartment fire

The final victim was identified by city officials as Belinda Moats of Big Wells, born Aug. 24, 1996.

Last week, city officials released the names of the other individuals whose bodies were also recovered in the fire: Haley Michele Frizzell of San Angelo (born July 10, 1999), David Ortiz of Pasadena (born May 11, 1997), Dru Estes of San Antonio (born July 5, 1998) and James Miranda, of Mount Pleasant.

In addition to the five people who were killed, seven others were injured.

The fire started just before 5 a.m. Friday at the Iconic Village Apartments in the 220 block of Ramsay Street. It spread quickly, leaving behind charred wreckage and displacing 200 people. 

The San Marcos fire chief said on Monday that 50 ATF agents are working to help determine the cause of the fire, but no origin has been identified so far and officials say the investigation could take months.

The apartment building did not have sprinklers since it was built in 1970 and was not required at that time to have them.

Statement from Dr. Joanne Smith, Texas State Vice President for Student Affairs: 

A short while ago, officials with the City of San Marcos announced the identities of four of the five victims of the fire at the Iconic Village apartments on July 20.

The families have been notified, and I am deeply saddened to confirm that three are connected to Texas State University: 

  • Dru Estes was a History major. Dru was not enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester, but was classified as a Sophomore.
  • Haley Frizzell was a Theatre major in her Sophomore year and enrolled to attend school this Fall.
  • David Ortiz was an Exercise and Sport Science major in his Junior year and enrolled to attend school this Fall.

James Miranda was identified but is not affiliated with the university.

As Dr. Trauth said in her message several days ago, this is a heartbreaking tragedy. We send our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.

More than 200 people were displaced by the fire that swept through the apartment complexes near campus. A number of services –– from ID replacements to counseling services –– are available to students affected by the fire.

These can be accessed via the following website link and several dozen students have already done so.

The support and comfort accorded to them and everyone affected, has come from the San Marcos community and hundreds of people like you who have donated funds to assist in their recovery.

Thank you to those who have lent a helping hand, and if you are able to make a contribution to the Student Emergency Services fund to aid students, please do so by visiting this link.

The university hosts Bobcat Pause every April to honor members of the campus community who have passed away.

This event will serve as the official university memorial for those lost in this tragic event.

In the meantime, please join me in extending our most comforting thoughts to the families and friends as they mourn the loss of their loved ones.

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