BOCA RATON -- Searchers in Haiti have recovered the remains of the last missing member of the Lynn University group of students and faculty members killed in last month's earthquake.
Confirmation that the body of Britney Gengel, 19, of Rutland, Mass., had been found in the rubble of a Port-au-Prince hotel was announced Sunday by officials of the Boca Raton university.
They arrived in Boca Raton only to be told that their daughter had not been rescued.
Gengel, a sophomore, was part of a 14-member group from Lynn in Haiti on a service trip called "Journey of Hope." The group was staying at the Hotel Montana when it collapsed during the magnitude-7.0 earthquake.
Eight members of the group escaped uninjured and returned to campus Jan. 14.
Gengel was known on campus as a down-to-earth but expressive young woman who loved to hug her friends and watch silly TV dating shows. She told friends she planned to major in communications.
In a statement, the Gengels called their daughter "our Valentine."
"Our daughter Britney signed up for a three-week course at Lynn University called Journey of Hope," said the Gengels in the statement. "We sat with her before she left and talked about this trip being a life-changing event. We never knew that this trip would change our lives and hers forever. "
University President Kevin Ross called Gengel "a beautiful young woman who gave her life serving others."
"While at Lynn, Britney triumphed academically and socially and was a true inspiration to the Lynn community and the community at large," Ross said in a statement. "We will miss her terribly."
An on-campus ceremony celebrating the lives and accomplishments of all four students and two faculty members who perished in the earthquake is being planned, university officials said.
Mike Clary can be reached at mclary@SunSentinel.com or 305-810-5007.