May 30, 1995 in Nation/World

Last 3 Bodies Found In Rubble Bomb Victims Believed To Be Credit Union Workers, Customer

Associated Press
 

The bodies of the last three victims of the terrorist bombing were pulled from the wreckage of the federal building Monday, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said.

The bodies were believed to be those of federal credit union employees Christy Rosas and Virginia Thompson, and Alvin Justes, a credit union regular missing since just before the bombing.

The remains of one man and two women were removed from the rubble between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. but can’t be immediately identified because of their condition, said Ray Blakeney of the medical examiner’s office.

“The families were notified that the bodies were recovered but there have been no positive identifications at this time,” Blakeney said. He said he didn’t believe there were any more bodies in the rubble.

“We have had no other reports to indicate there were any other people in the building,” Blakeney said.

The recovery of the bodies brought the death toll from the April 19 terrorist attack to 168. Hundreds more were injured.

Gov. Frank Keating and relatives of the victims expressed relief at the discovery.

“I am anxious to really know it is him … which I know it is,” Justes’ sister, Violet Root, said by phone from London, Ky. “It won’t be over until we get him back.”

A relative who answered the phone at the home of Rosas’ parents, but wouldn’t give her name, said: “We’re just assuming it is her. We’re relieved.”

Rescue workers had combed the rubble of the building for more than two weeks after the bombing but had called off the search May 5 - knowing the bodies of the two women were still there - for fear part of the bombed-out shell would collapse on the crews.

On May 22, authorities began to suspect that Justes’ body also might be in the wreckage.

Police had received a missing person report on him on May 15 when his landlord noticed that Justes, a creature of habit, had failed to pay his rent.

The bodies were found as workers from a wrecking company cleared the way to the crucial section.

“We had teams from the medical examiner’s office on the site, as well as the FBI and an evidence retrieval team,” Blakeney said. “They were watching in the area and all of a sudden there was a body. They then concentrated on the area and were able to recover the other two very quickly.”

The area where the bodies of Rosas and Thompson were believed to be buried had been marked and covered with protective cloth before the building was brought down May 23 by demolition experts.

Rosas had worked at the Federal Employees Credit Union just eight days. Thompson had started in January. One of them was at her desk, the other probably standing at a file cabinet when the bomb went off.

Justes, a 54-year-old Army veteran and disabled former federal employee, belonged to the credit union, was a frequent visitor to the third-floor office, and was last seen the morning of the bombing.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email