Still no answers for family of missing White Bear Lake couple

9:05 AM, Jan 18, 2012   |    comments
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  • Gerald and Barbara Heil/photo from St Pius X Church

WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. -- The family of Jerry and Barbara Heil say they still have not received word on the couple even after the bodies of four men and one woman were recovered Tuesday.

Search for victims intensified as rescue crews used explosives to put four holes in the hull of the ship so rescuers could search areas that have been unreachable.

Five more bodies were found Tuesday, bringing the total dead to 11. More than two dozen people remain missing including the Heils. The retired pair are the only two Americans still unaccounted for.

Ronda Rosenthal, of Lakeville, and her sister Vivian Shafer were lucky. They got off the ship even amid chaos. Rosenthal and Shafer told CNN no one from the crew helped them escape and said people were climbing onto lifeboats by themselves.

While crews continue their search for victims, anger is building against the captain of the ship. Francesco Schettino made his first court appearance Tuesday. He's being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship. He's been ordered by a judge to remain under house arrest.

As Barb and Jerry's family wait for answers, the Heil's church, St. Pius X will be holding a prayer service for the couple at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

For updates from the Heil family, please visit

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