SAN MARCOS, Texas — The body of a fifth victim has been recovered from what's left of the intense San Marcos apartment blaze, but for a Texas State University student, the search continues in finding her missing friend.

The same day of the fire, the City of San Marcos released the names of five people who were unaccounted for: James Miranda, Haley Frizzell, Belinda Moats, Dru Estes and David Ortiz.

"When I finally realized it was our David, everything changed. Then it became very personal," said Elena Barrera, who lives just several hundred feet from where the fire happened.

Every minute that passes is hard for Barrera.

"Just seeing his name was heartbreaking," she said. "I know there were other names, but seeing one that I knew really impacted me."

David Ortiz's graduation photo. His friend told KVUE he is still missing after a large fire broke out at an apartment complex in San Marcos.
Friend of David Ortiz

Barrera said that the first thing she did was text all of her friends, just to make sure they were okay.

The fire broke out at Iconic Village Apartments just before sunrise July 20, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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Ortiz, who is from Pasadena, Texas, was living in San Marcos to study at Texas State.

"He was so helpful," Barrera said, "I'm sure if he was out here, he'd be coordinating things trying to help others."

A wreath carrying the colors of TSU now sits at the entrance where the fire took place.

"There wasn't a day where he wouldn't offer his notes or help you," Barrera said.

She said it's sad someone so smart and brilliant had to go through this.

Officials have not released the names of the five bodies recovered from the apartment complex, but Barrera said she's hopeful that her friend isn't one of them.