‘She touched many souls’; People gather for balloon tribute to local woman killed in Florida – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio
DAYTON — We have learned that a woman from the Miami Valley was among the victims of Hurricane Ian.
Nishelle Harris-Miles died when the hurricane passed through Fort Myers last week, according to her family.
NewsCenter 7 spoke to her in 2019 when her brother was killed in a shooting in Dayton.
Now his family mourns his loss.
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Nishelle Harris-Miles, or Nene as her family and friends called her, turned 40 on September 23 and traveled to Fort Myers, Florida the week after her birthday to celebrate with her sister, cousin and his friend.
“We spoke to them on Tuesday and we were actually on the phone with them,” Adoria Lloyd, Nishelle’s cousin, told NewsCenter 7’s Brandon Lewis. “We were putting them in a good mood and telling them to be safe and all that. And then Wednesday, we just haven’t heard from them.
When Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday, Fort Myers was one of the hardest hit areas.
“I went looking for peace and came back broken, lost, confused, guilty,” said LaQuitta Heard, Nishelle’s friend.
LaQuitta Heard was traveling with them, the four women were in an Airbnb when the hurricane passed.
“Personally, I will never be the same again,” she said.
Nene’s family said the roof of their Airbnb collapsed and killed her.
“I had to watch her slowly die as we emerged in 18 feet of water with winds at 167 mph,” Heard said.
>>Photos: Floridians grappling with destruction from Hurricane Ian
Lewis said the three women who survived were stuck in their flooded Airbnb for more than 12 hours until rescuers picked them up.
They returned to Dayton on Saturday devastated by what they’ve been through.
“Words can’t explain it,” Heard said.
Dozens of people showed their support for them and Nene on Sunday by releasing balloons outside Nene’s home in Dayton.
His family and friends are heartbroken by his loss.
“Everyone came together to show their love,” Lloyd told Lewis. “Definitely show their love.”
They described her as the life of the party and someone who loved being with her loved ones.
“She was a loving person, she spread love wherever she went,” said Will Crusoe. “Again, you see the support she has. She touched a lot of souls.
As the family tries to figure out what happened, they work to get her body back to Dayton so they can rest her.
“Nene, we love you. We will miss you forever,” Lloyd said. “Always take care of yourself, keep your name alive forever.”
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