Missing Surfside Woman on Phone During Collapse: 'Screamed Bloody Murder, That Was It' Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 27, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. (GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Monday, 28 June 2021 02:14 PM
A woman still missing during the Surfside condo collapse was on the phone with her husband as she felt shaking on her fourth floor balcony and witnessed the pool cave in, according to reports.
"She screamed bloody murder and that was it," Michael Stratton said of his wife Cassandra Stratton, 40, who called him around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday, telling him frantically she saw the pool cave in and felt the condo shaking before the call suddenly cut off, The Washington Post reported.
"It was 1:30 a.m., I'll never, never forget that," Michael Stratton, 66, told the Miami Herald, noting he was in Washington, D.C., sleeping when he received the harrowing phone call from his still-missing wife.
Cassie was speaking frantically from the balcony and told him she saw the pool cave into a sinkhole as the condo was shaking, Michael Stratton, a Democrat strategist, told the Herald.
Then the phone went dead.
Cassie remains among the around 150 still missing from the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building at 8777 Collins Ave. There have been 10 confirmed dead, including the mother of a boy rescued from the rubble last week.
Michael Stratton last saw Cassie last Monday before his business trip to Washington, D.C. The couple was married in 2015 after meeting in New York City at the Super Bowl.
The caving in of the pool is noteworthy, because a 2018 report had indicated the ground-floor pool deck of the building was resting on a concrete slab that had "major structural damage" and needed extensive repairs, potentially costing at least $3.8 million for the garage, entrance, and pool deck and more than $9.1 million total for the entire building, The Associated Press reported.
Cassie Stratton's older sister Ashley Dean told the Post her missing sister "knew something was wrong" days before, having complained of water damage in the building, and was wary of heavy equipment on the roof to make repairs.
"I want to have hope, but I'm a realist," Dean told the Post of hearing from her sister again. "I don't want to hold on to false dreams."
Michael Stratton issued a statement to the Post, thanking those who are "keeping Cassie in their thoughts and prayers" and rescue workers for "working around the clock in unimaginable conditions to bring her and others home."
"Our family is forever grateful," the statement continued. "Cassie is a wife, mother and true friend to so many. She brings a vivacious love of life to everything she does — whether as an actress, model or Pilates instructor. Thank you again for your continued prayers."