Maui police also said the number of people who have not been accounted for since the Aug. 8 fire dropped to seven.

The Maui Police Department said Friday that human remains were recovered in the Old Lahaina Courthouse more than two months after the fast-moving fire that destroyed much of the historic town.

The remains were recovered on Tuesday, but it’s not known if they were from a new victim, adding to the death toll, or additional remains from a person already identified, MPD spokeswoman Alana Pico said in an email.

“It is pending autopsy and forensic examination to make the determination and further identification of the remains,” she said. “Should this be verified as a primary recovery, a press release will follow accordingly.”

Maui officials have said the search on land for human remains was completed after several weeks. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Ninety-eight people have been confirmed dead from the Aug. 8 fire, most residents of Lahaina. All but one of them have been identified after a painstaking process that included DNA samples from survivors and other family members.

The number of people still missing dropped to seven, according to the latest list released Friday by Maui police.

The death toll, which stood at 115 until it was revised downward in mid-September, and the number of people still missing have fluctuated as search crews combed through the ash and rubble left by the destruction of some 2,200 buildings in the heart of the historic town.

Officials have said the search process on land was complete and the search in the surrounding harbor waters was nearly complete. It’s unclear why the remains in the courthouse were only discovered this week.

Some remains were charred or commingled, complicating the identification process. The number of missing has dropped from a high of more than 2,000 in the immediate aftermath of the fire when communications were down and people who fled the fire were scattered in other homes or emergency shelters.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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