BAY COUNTY — Over a month after Hurricane Michael, law enforcement around the county are reporting that there are no storm-related missing or unaccounted for persons.
Bay County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ruth Corley said that in the days following Hurricane Michael — from Oct. 10 to Nov. 9 — 14 people were reported as missing. The department was able to work through that list, she said, and all but one have been located. The one left; however, is a transient male who had not had contact with his family since August.
“We don’t really have anybody that’s missing,” Corley said.
With the amount of damage, the number of people in the crosshairs of the storm and the sorry state of communications in the hurricane’s wake, there was a fear among law enforcement that hundreds were missing or otherwise unaccounted for. That number, Corley said, never materialized, either because people were able to get in contact with family members or because they evacuated after telling law enforcement they intended to stay.
“There’s not the two or three hundred,” Corley said. “It’s a miracle that there’s not more.
Similarly, Panama City Beach and Panama City have also confirmed they do not have any storm-related missing persons cases. BCSO and Panama City are working other missing persons cases, both agencies stated, but they are not tied to the storm.
Even in Mexico Beach, where the destruction was at its heaviest, Police Chief Andrew Kelly said his department does not have anyone missing or unaccounted for.
Earlier this week, the Medical Examiner’s Office added two additional storm-related casualties to Bay County’s total, bringing the number to 23 deaths. The office was able to identify one of the casualties as 55-year-old Joseph Kazimour. No other details were immediately available.