The Storm’s Victims: an Expectant Parent, a Doting Daughter, a Refugee
Tricia Goodrich’s half brother died on Christmas Day. But she didn’t find out until Dec. 26, when she learned of a Facebook post about his death.
Ms. Goodrich was shocked and confused. She immediately called her older brother. He confirmed that their younger brother, Timothy M. Murphy, died during the blizzard that blanketed western New York over the weekend.
“He had received the call on Christmas and didn’t want to ruin our Christmas,” she said.
Mr. Murphy, 27, died from carbon monoxide poisoning on Christmas Day after heavy snow choked the external furnace of his residence in Lockport, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.
He was among the more than 30 people in western New York whose deaths have been attributed to the powerful storm, a toll that officials expect will grow as they find more victims.
“We are going to to recover more bodies,” said Joseph Gramaglia, the Buffalo police commissioner, in a news briefing this week. “We’re pretty certain that there’s going to be more deaths uncovered that we just cannot see at this point.”
Six days after snow started falling, road crews and emergency personnel in Buffalo and across the region were still working to clear roads of snow and hundreds of abandoned vehicles on Wednesday.
Plow crews made “significant progress,” on Tuesday and more than 450 pieces of snow removal equipment were on city streets on Wednesday removing and hauling snow, said Mike DeGeorge, the spokesman for the Buffalo mayor’s office, in a text message.
With warmer temperatures expected in coming days, officials are also bracing for flooding that could further complicate the recovery.
Some of the victims that have been identified were discovered in vehicles stranded on roads that became impassible in the storm, Mr. DeGeorge said. Others he said were found “on sidewalks, near street corners, some have been found in snowbanks. Some have been found because some have been without power since the storm began.”
Here is what we know so far about the victims.
Monique Alexander, 52
Monique Alexander, 52, left her home at around 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, telling her daughter, Casey Maccarone, that she would be right back.
Thirty minutes passed. Ms. Maccarone called her mother but heard only wind on the other end of the call. She called back, and the phone went straight to voice mail. Two hours passed. Ms. Maccarone posted in a Facebook group, asking if anyone had seen her mother.
She heard almost immediately from a man named Emmanuel “Manny” Bobe, 29. He told her he had found her mother’s body frozen and covered in snow. He moved her under the awning of a nearby jewelry store, King of Diamonds, and called the police.
“Seeing snow will never be the same,” Ms. Maccarone said.
Ms. Alexander worked as a part-time home health aide and a part-time housekeeper at a hotel. “She was loyal to everyone,” Ms. Maccarone said of her mother. “She was everyone’s favorite, whether it was cousin, grandma, everything.”
Anndel Nicole Taylor, 22
Anndel Nicole Taylor, 22, was driving home from work on Dec. 23 when her car got stuck in the snow. She repeatedly called emergency services for help but kept being put on hold. She texted her family that she was scared. Around midnight, she went to sleep. She was found dead in her car on Christmas Eve.
“She went to sleep hoping they would save her as they told her,” said her older sister, Shawnequa Renee Brown, 35.
Ms. Taylor was a certified nursing assistant who moved to Buffalo from Charlotte to care for her ailing father. Ms. Brown described her younger sister as caring, outgoing and playful.
“She’ll meet you one time, and now y’all friends forever,” Ms. Brown said. “She was the strong one in the family.”
Abdul Sharifu, 26
Abdul Sharifu, 26, ventured out of his home on Christmas Eve for groceries, despite warnings not to from his pregnant wife, who is due to give birth next week, according to a friend, Enock Rushikana.
Mr. Sharifu’s car was found abandoned on the corner of Main and Utica Streets; his friends believed he had become stuck and tried to walk home. His body was later identified by a friend at the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.
Mr. Sharifu was a Congolese refugee who fled in 2017. His tight-knit community called him “911” because he would drop anything he was doing to help those in need. He was ecstatic that he was about to become a father to a son.
William Clay, 56
Disturbing video of a body apparently frozen in a snowbank began circulating on social media on Christmas Eve. It appeared to be William Clay, who was called Romello, according to a Go-Fund-Me account for funeral expenses created by his sister, Sophia Clay. On that day, she wrote, he would have turned 56.
Timothy M. Murphy, 27
Timothy M. Murphy, 27, died in his home from carbon monoxide poisoning on Christmas Day.
He was found by his cousin, Ms. Goodrich, his half sister, said.
“It’s just the definition of tragedy,” she said.
Carolyn Eubanks, 63
Carolyn Eubanks, 63, had a heart condition and relied on an oxygen machine that required electricity to run, according to The Buffalo News.
Her son, Antwaine Parker, knew she would not survive in her home without heat or electricity. Mr. Parker and his stepbrother, Kenneth Johnson, decided to drive to her home; what should have been a 10-minute drive ended up taking seven hours. They gathered her and walked her to their car, but she grew weary, the News reported.
Mr. Parker banged on neighbors’ doors, asking for help. David Purdy and Cassieopia Layhee tried to help but Ms. Eubanks died.
Stanisława Jóźwiak, 73
Stanisława Jóźwiak, 73, ventured out in her car on Friday morning, according to The Washington Post. Hours later, she called her daughter, Edie Syta, telling her that she was trapped in the snow. Family friends eventually found Ms. Jóźwiak’s body in the car, which was buried in about two feet of snow.
Ms. Syta told The Post that her mother was a Polish immigrant who struggled with English and probably didn’t understand the danger of leaving her home that morning.
Michael D. Regan contributed reporting. Alain Delaquérière contributed research.