Bodies of two men with Chicago connections found in rubble of Surfside condo tower

Loyola grad Juan Mora Jr., 32, and Ilan Naibryf, a fourth-year University of Chicago student, are among 78 people known to have died in the collapse of the tower near Miami Beach. At least 62 others remain unaccounted for.

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Juan Mora Jr.

Juan Mora Jr.


The bodies of a Loyola University graduate and a University of Chicago undergraduate student have been recovered from the rubble of the Surfside condominium tower in Florida, authorities said Thursday.

Loyola grad Juan Mora Jr., 32, of Chicago, and Ilan Naibryf, a fourth-year student at the University of Chicago, were confirmed to be among the 78 people who died in the collapse of the tower, just north of Miami Beach.

At least 62 other people remain unaccounted for, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Mora had worked for Morton Salt in Chicago, and had been staying with his parents, Juan and Ana Mora, when the building crumbled to the ground. His parents are still unaccounted for.

Mora was working remotely to stay with his parents, Cuban immigrants who relocated to the Miami area, according to a friend Oscar Cepera, 31. 

Cepera said he last saw Mora on June 19 when they went fishing.

“He was a grade-A kind of guy,” Cepero said. “He was the kind of person that when he made a commitment, he always stuck by it. [He] was honest, respectable. Kind of more old school than anything.”

Cepero said his friend had truly settled into his home in the Midwest. From graduating from Loyola to becoming a Cubs fan and favoring the deep dish from Lou Malnati’s, Cepero said, “Chicago is everything for him.”

Also confirmed dead Thursday was Ilan Naibryf.

The University of Chicago, in a note from university leaders to the school community, confirmed Thursday that Naibryf was among those found in the rubble.

Naibryf and his girlfriend, Deborah Berezdivin, were staying together at the condo tower, according to NBC 6 in Miami. The University of Chicago student newspaper, the Chicago Maroon, is reporting that Berezdivin also was killed.

Naibryf was a physics major with a minor in molecular engineering and co-founder and CEO of STIX Financial, a 2021 College New Venture Challenge finalist, according to the university.

Naibryf was active in the school’s Jewish community and served as president of the Chabad House student board.

He was also a former member of the men’s track and field team and played recreational soccer.

“He will be greatly missed,” the statement from university leaders said.

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