It’s been nine months since Roseanne Feliciano’s sister, Loraine “Lori” Feliciano-Pino, disappeared with no explanation.
Feliciano had always been concerned about the canal near her sister’s Boca Raton, Florida, home, but detectives never bothered to search it.
But now, after the panic Hurricane Irma brought to Florida, her family has finally found some answers.
According to the Palm Beach Post, the 47-year-old was last spotted in her car, a gray 2011 Toyota RAV 4, as she was leaving her house on December 19. And for the past 264 days, not one major breakthrough had been made by investigators.
Officials determined Feliciano-Pino’s phone as turned off or dead, that there hadn’t been one transaction made on any of her bank cards, and that she didn’t leave any clues. She had, for all intents and purposes, truly disappeared.
During a nine-month investigation, the Palm Beach Post reported that dozens of officials have worked on the case, looking for any and all clues that might lead to Feliciano-Pino’s whereabouts “from the ocean to the Everglades,” but no one could find anything.
Officials previously told the Palm Beach Post “it is unlike her character to go missing,” especially considering she did not suffer from any mental illnesses or disorders.
Last week, as city officials prepared for the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, they unknowingly solved one huge part of Feliciano-Pino’s disappearance.
Before the history-making storm made landfall, the county partially drained several canals in order to prevent flooding, but once the water levels of a local canal lowered, the top of a dark vehicle was spotted on September 9.
It wasn’t long before residents around the area shared pictures of the submerged car, and Feliciano-Pino’s sister happened to scroll by the photo.
She told the Palm Beach Post she immediately thought the car looked like her sister’s and left the detective a voicemail. She said she wanted to go check the car out herself, but she was under a countywide curfew because of the impending storm.
Thankfully, she didn’t have to wait that much longer. Just hours after calling the detective, she received a call back telling her the car in question was, in fact, her sister’s, and a woman who resembled Feliciano-Pino was still inside.
Feliciano told the Palm Beach Post:
“I was initially completely shocked, then was very angry. I can’t tell you how many times I said (to detectives) can we please check this canal because it was close to where she lived.”
She also echoed that sentiment when speaking to the Sun-Sentinel:
“That was pretty close to her home. I always had a feeling that she would be in there.”
She continued, telling the Sun-Sentinel that in the first few days after her sister disappeared, she asked investigators to check that specific canal multiple times, but instead, they searched a different one:
“I never understood why they [searched that canal]. They said a lot of activity happened in that canal and they searched that canal with marine diver.”
Now, unfortunately, her intuition proves to be correct.
Because of the extensive damage Irma had on South Florida, the process of determining facts around Feliciano-Pino’s death has taken much longer than usual since the discovery of her car. However, the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office did confirm to the Post that “a woman by the name of Loraine Pino was examined on Saturday.”
Feliciano told the Sun-Sentinel that despite the hurricane’s devastation, it did help her family in some way, and now, they can “finally start the grieving process.”