HONOLULU — On Friday, the FBI provided an updated number of people who have remains unaccounted for following the wildfires in Maui. The death toll number has remained the same at 115.
The Maui Police Department and the FBI said 245 on the list of 388 made public last week have been located and removed, according to The Associated Press. Still, nearly an equal number of names were added.
The list from the FBI of people who have been unaccounted for after the wildfires has been updated from 388 to 385 which is three less than the previous week, according to HNN-TV.
The list from the FBI is in addition to a list compiled by other organizations which have counted the missing at over 1,000, according to the news outlet. The FBI’s list only has people on it for whom officials have a first and last name for as well as contact information for whomever reported them missing.
The FBI is expecting to update the list every Friday, according to KHON. The first list was made public on Aug. 24, when 388 individuals were identified. Within hours, the FBI said they were contacted by multiple family members, reporting that over 100 people did not belong on the list.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier, in a video statement obtained by HNN, said how important providing DNA sample is if you have a missing relative in the fires. They can be provided at the Family Assistance Center in Kaanapali.
“We need you, the public, to help us in this effort,” Pelletier said, according to the news outlet.
“If you have a loved one that you know is missing and you are a family member, it’s imperative that you get a DNA sample,” Pelletier said in a video posted to Instagram, according to the AP.
Authorities have declined to predict the final death toll because of uncertainty and how many people have just not checked in with their loved ones, HNN-TV reported. Four weeks after the fires, officials acknowledged that the death toll will rise.
The Maui Police Department released the identity of one person, Tim Nakamoto, 69, on Friday. His next of kin has been notified of his death. They also confirmed that the number of the deceased from the fires remains at 115. They also shared that 50 of the 115 have been identified and their families have been notified. Five of the 115 have been identified but their families have not been located or notified.
“We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for the families, and we ask that the media and the public respect the privacy of the grieving families. We will continue to work closely with the families to ensure that they are updated and supported throughout this process,” police said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, according to the AP. It is however suspected that powerlines from down utility poles may have ignited the fire. Maui County has sued Hawaiian Electric.