A Fort Worth mother has learned that the remains of her missing son were found in Haiti and will be flown to the United States.
"It is bittersweet," said Sally Baldwin of Fort Worth, who had been waiting for news about her son, Brendan Beck, since an earthquake struck Port-au-Prince last month. "I am so grateful he was found and heartbroken that I have lost my incredible son."
Beck was just shy of 35 when he arrived in Haiti. The University of Florida graduate was a civil engineer who traveled to Haiti to begin a job for the U.S. Agency for International Development. He had been staying at the Hotel Montana when the earthquake hit.
Baldwin said the State Department informed her Monday that her son's remains will be transported to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where an autopsy will be performed and a death certificate issued.
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Base officials will work with the family on where to send Beck's remains, she said. Family plans are to sprinkle his ashes in the waters of Boca Grande, Fla. -- a favorite fishing area of Beck's.
Baldwin's plight touched lawmakers, who stressed the need to search for missing Americans.
In the days after the earthquake, Baldwin traveled to Washington, D.C., to encourage lawmakers to have someone oversee the recovery, identification and return of relatives from the Hotel Montana. She also wants a process for the "repatriation" of these earthquake victims.
The search for Beck and other missing people at the hotel touched many people online. A Facebook page, "Haiti Earthquake Hotel Montana," allowed people worldwide to monitor updates and offer hope.
"Brendan had a lot of friends," Baldwin said. "He was just an incredible young man. He never knew a stranger."
Beck wanted to serve and give to others, Baldwin said. He was a lifeguard in his youth. He was a Big Brother in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and he joined the Peace Corps.
"How can I forget him?" Baldwin said. "He was the light of my life. He was my baby. His legacy to me was courage."
DIANE SMITH, 817-390-7675