Hundreds remain missing in the wake of Ike

September 24, 2008 4:22:06 PM PDT
The death toll from Hurricane Ike has reached at least 27 in Texas. A body was found in a pile of debris in Chambers County. And hundreds of people are still unaccounted for in Galveston County and surrounding areas. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Gail Ettenger, Marion Arrambide, Ronald Auseberry and hundreds more are all linked by a common thread.

"We have about 400 active cases right now," said Bill Smither with the Laura Recovery Center.

Nearly 400 people are presumed missing 12 days after Hurricane Ike slammed on shore. Calls flooded a Galveston County missing persons hotline at the Laura Recovery Center. People are terrified a relative was lost in the storm.

After days of waiting, some families got the answers they've prayed for.

"Someone just called in from Clear Creek ISD off a call we had made and said they have located some people associated with the school district and said they were safe and well in Texas City," said Terry Arnold with the Laura Recovery Center.

But hundreds more wait for word as their loved ones names fill an online hurricane missing persons database. Those on the list share some commonalties in age and geography.

"There are a lot of elderly folks, just looking at the age column," said Smither.

Many of them are from the hardest hit areas of the county, including Boliver, Crystal Beach and Gilchrist.

"We desperately need to try and find out what happened to those folks to try and reunite the families," said Arnold.

They're trying to find out what happened to people like Sandy Walton and Joel Chapman and bring them home.

If you know of a missing person in Galveston County, you can call 866-898-5723.

Keep your family safe this hurricane season. Check our complete tropical weather preparation guide


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