Dozens dead from Maui wildfires: What we know about the victims

Carole Hartley is seen here in an undated file photo. -- Courtesy Hartley Family

(NEW YORK) -- Devastating wildfires that erupted on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 8 have claimed the lives of at least 99 people while many more remain missing, according to authorities.

Officials on Maui have repeatedly warned that the death toll is expected to rise as they work to contain the active blazes and assess the damage.

Here's what we know about some of the victims:

Franklin Trejos, 68

Franklin Trejos, 68, died in the historic town of Lahaina on Aug. 8, his friend Shannon Weber-Bogar confirmed to ABC News.

Trejos, who was originally from Costa Rica, had been living for several years with Weber-Bogar and her husband, Geoff Bogar, at their home on Maui. When the inferno began in Lahaina, Trejos and Bogar stayed behind to try to save the house and help their neighbors, Weber-Bogar said.

Eventually, Trejos and Bogar tried to escape in separate cars. Bogar's car wouldn't start, so he broke a window to get out and was later rescued by police and taken to a local hospital. The next day, Bogar returned to find Trejos' remains inside another car on top of their beloved dog, a 3-year-old golden retriever named Sam, according to Weber-Bogar.

Trejos' niece Kika Pérez Grant told ABC News that her uncle, whom she called "Frankie," was a "huge animal lover" and would always think of others before thinking of himself.

"And so even in his very last moments, he thought to protect," Pérez Grant said.

"He was just a loving man. He was a free spirit, he was an adventurer, a nature lover, an animal lover, an artist," she added. "He was just a great person to be around. Energetic, he had so much gusto."

Pérez Grant also recalled her uncle's great smile and love for chocolate milk.

"He was such a wonderful human," she said. "The best uncle, brother and friend."

Trejos was very close to his older sister, Pérez Grant's mother, who has been living with stage 4 breast cancer. He always worried about her and "checked in on her quite often," according to Pérez Grant.

"She never imagined losing her brother," Pérez Grant said of her mother. "She always thought she would pass first."

Trejos would have turned 69 in September.

"This has been a tragic and heartbreaking loss for our family," Pérez Grant told ABC News "To know that he must have been so scared or to imagine him suffering, there are no words."

Carole Hartley

Carole Hartley died in Lahaina on Aug. 8, her sister Donna Hartley confirmed to ABC News.

Carole's body was found by her longtime partner Charles on their property there. The couple were separated as they tried to flee the flames, Donna said.

Charles told Donna that he and Carole were about to get in their truck when it exploded in front of them. He said he told Carole to "run" and he thought she was in front of him running but he never saw her again, according to Donna.

Charles survived but suffered third-degree burns. He returned to their property on Aug. 12 to find human remains alongside Carole's watch and dental bridge, Donna said.

"It has to be her remains," Donna told ABC News. "Nobody else has been at our house."

Donna, who lives in Alabama, said she has struggled to sleep ever since and has been having nightmares.

"I have dreams my sister is on fire," she said.

Donna described her sister as a "beautiful" person.

"She had a heart of gold and she cared about other people more than herself," she added. "She was always that way."

ABC News' Sasha Pezenik, Stephanie Wash and Jennifer Watts contributed to this report.

Monday, August 14, 2023 at 9:00AM by Morgan Winsor, ABC News Permalink