The body of Britney Gengel, a college student from the central Massachusetts town of Rutland who disappeared after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, has been found in the ruins of the Port-au-Prince hotel where she was staying.
"Our hearts are breaking as our souls are full of joy that our beautiful Britney is on her way home," Britney's parents, Len and Cherylann Gengel, said in a statement.
Gengel, a student at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., had gone to Haiti with a group of fellow students and professors to help feed the poor with the program Journey of Hope-Haiti. Gengel, a sophomore, would have turned 20 a few days after the quake struck.
The discovery brought a sad end to a long, agonizing wait for Gengel's family.
The Gengels' hopes were raised by an early report that Britney had been rescued from the rubble. They flew to Florida to meet her. But their worst fears came true when they learned that the initial report had been false.
The Gengels thanked rescue and recovery workers who had worked at the hotel site, government officials who had helped them, and university officials, family members, friends, and people in their community and across the country who had given them their support.
"We will now wait for our Britney to come home to us so that we can celebrate her life and we can continue her Journey of Hope for the poorest of the poor in Haiti!!! God bless all of you and God bless Britney!" the family said in the statement.
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