Body Found at Miami Dade College Parking Garage Collapse Site Likely Robert Budhoo's: Police

The 53-year-old worker has been missing since the garage collapsed Wednesday

Monday, Oct 15, 2012  |  Updated 9:23 PM CDT
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The wife of a man missing for days after a parking garage collapsed at Miami-Dade College s west campus said she was frustrated and wanted an  around-the-clock  search for her husband. Laurel Budhoo was outside of the construction site Saturday with family and supporters. She told NBC 6 South Florida she wanted to see results.

The wife of a man missing for days after a parking garage collapsed at Miami-Dade College s west campus said she was frustrated and wanted an around-the-clock search for her husband. Laurel Budhoo was outside of the construction site Saturday with family and supporters. She told NBC 6 South Florida she wanted to see results.

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Investigators said they believe they found the body of missing worker Robert Budhoo deep within the rubble of the collapsed Miami Dade College parking garage on Monday.

Miami-Dade Police said they cannot confirm that the body of the adult male is Budhoo's, but based on all the circumstances, they believe it is.

It might take days for the body to be removed because of the instability of the rubble and serious safety concerns for workers on the site, police said in a statement.

Earlier, Budhoo's wife said she was frustrated and wanted an “around-the-clock” search for her 53-year-old husband, who has been missing since the garage collapsed at Miami Dade College’s west campus last Wednesday.

Investigators have briefed the Budhoo family on the latest development, police said in a statement Monday.

PHOTOS: Miami Dade College Garage Collapses

Laurel Budhoo was outside of the construction site over the weekend with family and supporters.

“I want them to extend the search around the clock,” she said. “I don’t want them to close off the light and the machines at 8 o’clock or 11 o’clock. I want them to work around the clock, get workers, do shifts.”

At a news conference on Monday, the head of the company managing the project said he wasn't permitted to discuss the rescue recovery process and that it was being handled by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

"We are working as quickly and as expeditiously as possible. We've made suggestions on how things can be done quicker and faster, and in consultation with all the authorities those processes are being ferreted out," said Ajax Building Corp. President and CEO Bill Byrne.

Byrne also said there has been no determination yet as to what caused the collapse.

Before the news that a body had been located, Budhoo's family still had hope he could be found alive.

“Time is going by,” Laurel Budhoo said. “He’s down there regardless of if he’s alive or dead, but I’m still holding on to hope that my husband is still alive because I believe in God.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Miami-Dade authorities approved the removal of debris to a staging site, which will help make search operations more expeditious, Byrne said. All the parties have agreed on a cataloging system of the debris and material was expected to start being removed very soon, he said.

Byrne added that the company is committed to finding out the facts and cause of the collapse.

Doral Police Chief Ricardo Gomez was at the construction site Saturday and said at least 15 people were searching for Budhoo at the time. He told NBC 6 South Florida that the “dangerous” building conditions were holding up the search.

“I’ve been telling them that they have to be patient,” Gomez said. “And they’ve asked me for certain things and I’m going to try to see if I can accommodate those requests because it’s the least we can do.”

He added that the reason for his visit was to inform the family that they have not been abandoned.

“It really tugs at your heart when you see them,” Gomez said. “You see the frustration, and you really want to be able to do more for them, it’s just that the situation is still fluid, you have a very dangerous site, and unfortunately, they’re not getting the communication and talking in a timely manner.”

VIDEO: How Could the Miami Dade Garage Collapse Happen?

Even after his visit, the family expressed their frustration with the police and fire departments.

“We’re not getting answers about what’s going on,” said Laurel Budhoo, who added that workers were calling off the search early and passing by the family without speaking.

“You can’t be working with the public and work like this,” she said.

Three people were killed and seven others hospitalized after the five-story structure collapsed Wednesday.

"As much as all of us want to know what happened, it is simply too early to determine what has caused this event," Byrne has said.

Last week, Byrne was asked about reports that a crane had bumped the structure just days before the collapse.

"I don't have the full confirmation of that. It's my understanding, an incident where the crane bumped a column, it didn't cause any damage to the column," Byrne said. "The crane was repaired and inspected and was recertified. The engineers, it's my understanding, looked at the column, deemed it, it was perfectly fine."

A team from the OSHA began its investigation on the scene Thursday. Ajax corporate safety director Marc Reeves said the company is working with OSHA to determine the cause of the incident.

Classes at the west campus were relocated in time for Monday.

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