Surfside mother who lost her husband and son faces life without keepsakes

Raquel Oliveira, her husband, Alfredo Leone, and son, Lorenzo
Raquel Oliveira, her husband, Alfredo Leone, and son, Lorenzo pictured here from June 2019 posted on her Facebook page. FACEBOOK

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In Surfside, a mother who lost her son and spouse in the Surfside condo collapse faces life without any keepsakes – not a single drawing!

Raquel Oliveira is a mom who lost her husband, Alfredo Leone, and their 5-year-old son, Lorenzo in the Surfside condo collapse.

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The 41-year-old Brazilian was in Colorado visiting her mother and sister when the Champlain Towers South condo building collapsed on June 24. She had gone for a short visit and was planning to return home for the weekend. Instead, she had woken up to the horrible news on that Thursday.

Having lost everything in that disaster, Raquel didn’t just lose her family. She lost the most treasured possessions that moms tend to keep for their entire lives – the works of art made by kids when they were little.

The keepsakes that moms like to prominently display on fridge doors and shelves or tucked away in messy drawers. Such items are irreplaceable and are worth more than anything a mom might own.

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The bodies of Alfredo Leone and their young son Lorenzo were identified in the wreckage of the beachfront building. They were recovered on July 8 by Miami-Dade Police.

Oliveira was born in Brazil’s seaside city, and that was where she met Italian-born Leone. Her hometown had become very dangerous as drug-related crime took over entire neighborhoods amid a deep economic crisis in the state of Rio.

Despite the deteriorating situation in the city, Alfredo was said to have loved Rio very much and he loved the beach and the lifestyle.

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In 2017, Oliveira and Alfredo decided to move to Miami from Rio de Janeiro. They were looking for a safer place to raise their son Lorenzo, who was 8 months old at the time, according to a close friend, Katia Pirozzi. Oliveira had to convince her husband to leave Rio.

They were originally considering moving to Portugal. However, they finally settled on Miami which they felt was a better option considering the kind of life that Alfredo wanted to have for himself and his family.

Alfredo, who was an electrical engineer was excited when he joined MentorcliQ, a company that provides mentoring software to teams all over the world. He was a business development professional with experience in launching technology companies in several markets.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Alfredo Leone was a chief revenue officer at MentorcliQ, “working on making mentoring a mainstream employee benefit”, he wrote.

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He was also said to be very passionate about helping nonprofits and young tech companies grow. Leone served on several advisory boards including that of Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit LINGOs (now Humentum), language learning company Ascentify, software review platform InsiderHub and nonprofit Tunnel Labs.

According to Pirozzi, Alfredo Leone adored his 5-year old son. Little Lorenzo was his biggest passion. Dad and son would spend many hours together listening to music and doing puzzles.

Leone’s parents live in Spain and they traveled to Miami earlier this month to provide DNA samples to help in the identification of their son and to be with Raquel.

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