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Hawaii officials identify 70-year-old mother as the last of the 100 known victims of the Lahaina wildfire


Maui Police Department

Lydia Coloma died when wildfires tore through Maui in August 2023, police say.



CNN
 — 

Hawaii officials announced Friday the identity of the last of the 100 known victims who were killed last year when the deadliest wildfire in the US in more than a century scorched Maui.

The remains of Lydia Coloma, 70, were the final set awaiting positive identification by forensic scientists at the Maui Police Department, police spokesperson Alana Pico told CNN Friday.

Months before officials announced the positive identification, an investigator said the remains were severely damaged. That meant an extraordinary degree of analysis was required to bring her family members a sense of closure, Tony Earles, the department’s lead crime scene investigator, said last year.

“She is a mother, a wife, a well-respected community member,” Maui Police officer Steven Landsiedel said in an interview with CNN last year as forensic work was ongoing.

Eight members of Coloma’s family were also killed in the wildfires of early August 2023, the nonprofit newsroom Honolulu Civil Beat reported in September.

After Coloma’s positive identification, she has been removed from a list of missing people tracked by Maui Police. Now, three people are classified as missing due to the wildfires: Paul Kasprzycki, 76; Robert Owens, 65; and Elmer Lee Stevens, 73, according to Maui County’s credible Lahaina fire missing list.

Fueled by ferocious winds from Hurricane Dora hundreds of miles offshore, the fast-moving wildfires leveled entire neighborhoods and displaced hundreds of residents. The historic town of Lahaina – located on the western coast of Maui – suffered extensive destruction and was nearly wiped out.

The death toll mounted to at least 100 as crews spent days digging through the rubble of what used to be homes, businesses and historic landmarks to find the remains of those lost in the fires. The Maui wildfires were the deadliest in the US in more than 100 years, research from the National Fire Protection Association shows.

As of last week, more than 5,400 people remained displaced in hotel rooms, roughly five months after the wildfire, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in a video update posted on social media. The governor added efforts are underway to lease long-term rentals in response to the housing issue.

Maui County officials noted police are releasing information on those who had a missing-person report filed for them and are encouraging people to contact police if they believe anyone is still unaccounted for.



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