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Remains of woman missing since Hurricane Ian found

By NATHAN MAYBERG - | Jan 12, 2023

The human remains found Tuesday in the mangroves off Tropical Shores Way have been identified as Ilonka Knes, a Fort Myers Beach resident missing since Hurricane Ian.

Knes, 82, has been missing since storm surge from the Sept. 28 hurricane washed over the island, destroying most homes and businesses along the shoreline. She is believed to have died by drowning.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said in a press conference this morning that the remains were discovered deep in the mangroves by a debris removal contractor.

She was identified through dental records.

Her husband Robert, 81, was also killed by Hurricane Ian. His body was found early on in the search-and-rescue efforts.

Marceno said the location in which Knes was found was not visible by air or boat. The location of the canal and mangroves is not far from Town Hall.

“I hope this discovery can bring the family some closure,” Marceno said.

Her death brings the total number of Lee County residents whose deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Ian to 74.

Another Fort Myers Beach resident, James Hurst, remains missing since Hurricane Ian.