OAKLAND (CBS SF) – In their final moments, with the deadly flames quickly approaching and no way to escape, some of the victims of the Ghost Ship fire sent final text messages saying good-by to the loved ones.
Alameda County Sheriff Sgt. Ray Kelly, who has spent days surrounded by death and loss, made the stunning revelation.
“We’ve had a lot of intimate conversations with the families,” he said. “Kids were sending texts to their parents telling them they loved them and they were going to die.”
Kelly told the East Bay Times that one grief-stricken mother showed him her phone with a text message from her daughter. It read: “I love you. I’m going to die, Mom.”
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Nick Walrath texted his girlfriend, Alexis Abrams-Bourke, from inside the burning structure, saying there was a fire and that he loved her.
Abrams-Bourke said Monday that Walrath was among the missing. She spoke to the Associated Press between sobs as she described him as a wonderful person who was open and vulnerable and goofy and generous.
“I feel like my future has been ripped from me,” she said.
Aside from the text, Kelly said the bodies of some of the victims were discovered draped next to each other, their last act a desperate attempt to save a companion.
“We have found people that have died in each other’s arms, protecting each other, holding each other,” he said.
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By Tuesday morning, 26 families had been contacted by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office telling them they had lost a loved one.
Nine other bodies have been tentatively identified and their families will soon learn their fate.
A lone body remains unidentified. It was found without any form of identification and does not match the description of any of those still listed among the possible missing.