The body of a Florida woman, 82, who went missing during Hurricane Ian is found

The body of a Florida woman, 82, who went missing during Hurricane Ian is found months after the storm devastated her home

  • Ilonka Knes, 82, was found less than 0.1 miles away from her home
  • Knes lived in Fort Myers with her husband who also died during Hurricane Ian 
  • Her body was found ‘deep within the mangroves’ by a waste removal company
  • The elderly woman was one of two people missing following the storm  

The remains of a Fort Myers woman who went missing when Hurricane Ian devastated her town have been found months later. 

Ilonka Knes, 82, was found a short distance away from her home submerged in water ‘deep within the mangroves’ on Tropical Shore Way on Tuesday, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced at a press conference.

Knes body was recovered by a waste removal company as clean-up efforts in the community continue. She was later identified by her dental records and reported her cause of death was ‘accidental drowning.’ 

She was one of the last two people missing since October 15 after the storm completely devastated her community.

James Hurst, 72, is still missing since he rode out the storm on a sailboat in Fort Meyers. 

The final death toll for Hurricane Ian was around 150 with 74 reported in Lee County alone. 

Ilonka Knes, 82, was found less than .1 miles away from her home. Knes body was recovered by a waste removal company as clean up efforts in the community continue. She was identified by her dental records

Ilonka Knes, 82, was found less than .1 miles away from her home. Knes body was recovered by a waste removal company as clean up efforts in the community continue. She was identified by her dental records

Her body was found 'deep within the mangroves' by a waste removal company. The photo above shows the continued devastation of Fort Myers since Ian

Her body was found ‘deep within the mangroves’ by a waste removal company. The photo above shows the continued devastation of Fort Myers since Ian

Hurricane Ian took the state by surprise when the Category 4 storm’s destructive power marveled in. 

Fort Myers Beach, a town of about 5,500 on one of the barrier islands off Fort Myers, was ’90 percent’ destroyed in the storm, officials previously said. 

At the time, residents were warned they may not be able to return to their waterlogged homes for months. 

‘As time moves forward, the scars left by Ian will remind us how far we’ve come when we work together,’ Marceno said. ‘We will build back stronger than before and it takes all of us.’ 

While some were able to make it out of the town by foot, Knes and her husband were among the unlucky few unable to escape. 

Her husband’s body was found immediately after the storm nearby their home – which was completely destroyed. 

‘These are not just two bodies – these are two loved ones – these are two family members,’ Marceno said.

Ilonka lived on Fort Myers with her husband Bob who also died during Hurricane Ian

Ilonka lived on Fort Myers with her husband Bob who also died during Hurricane Ian

Ilonka was found 0.1 miles away from where she lived. Her husband was found in the same proximity back in October

Ilonka was found 0.1 miles away from where she lived. Her husband was found in the same proximity back in October

Fort Myers residents are still picking up the pieces more than two months after the storm tore through the state's west coast. Pictured: Fort Myers in December

Fort Myers residents are still picking up the pieces more than two months after the storm tore through the state’s west coast. Pictured: Fort Myers in December 

Surrounded by trash, several boats in Fort Myers can be seen stranded on land, some even touching each other

Surrounded by trash, several boats in Fort Myers can be seen stranded on land, some even touching each other

These are the remains of the Hideaway Motel in Fort Myers just days after the Hurricane hit the town

These are the remains of the Hideaway Motel in Fort Myers just days after the Hurricane hit the town 

Aerial photos show the scale of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Florida in September

Aerial photos show the scale of the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers Beach, Florida in September

Vehicles can be seen making their way through the flooding on September 29

Vehicles can be seen making their way through the flooding on September 29 

Months after Hurricane Ian, Fort Myers continue to struggle to bounce back from the deadly natural disaster. 

Several cleanup crews have been deployed as the town with the impact noted to be ‘the most expensive storm’ to ever hit Florida.

‘As we are digging in the mangroves, as we are cleaning things up, I’m always concerned about what we find. I hope and pray we don’t have one more fatality.’ 

In December, photos of Fort Myer overturned boats in the water, abandoned businesses, and debris on and off roadways.

The ‘apocalyptic’ storm also caused billions in damage, making it one of the most devastating storms to date. 

CoreLogic, a property data and analytics company, in October, announced the estimated financial total of the hurricane. 

‘According to this new data analysis, total flood and wind losses are between $41 billion and $70 billion,’ the company wrote. 

Their estimate included ‘wind loss, re-evaluated insured and uninsured storm surge loss and newly calculated inland flood loss for residential and commercial properties.’ 

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