Two-year-old Brandon Moore and 4-year-old Connor Moore were swept into swirling waters as their mother tried to escape her SUV on Monday amid rushing waters that caused the vehicle to stall, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said as he announced the discovery of the bodies.
Police said the mother, Glenda Moore, was going to her sister's home in Brooklyn when she tried to flee the vehicle with the boys, only to have the force of the rising water and the relentless cadence of pounding waves rip their small arms from her.
Kelly said the mother "was totally, completely distraught. She started looking for them herself, asking people to help her look."
The search continued in the days that followed, with numerous emergency personnel joining the march through Staten Island marshland. The bodies were found about 100 feet from each other at the end of a narrow dead end street.
"Terrible, absolutely terrible," Kelly said. "It just compounds all the tragic aspects of this horrific event."
Police said 19 of the 38 people believed to have died in the storm were found on Staten Island.
Those identified on Thursday included the bodies of a couple who apparently drove away from their Staten Island home as the storm struck.
The 89-year-old man and 66-year-old woman were found lying next to a car in a vacant lot. Police believe they drowned after climbing out to escape rising water.
Authorities stressed that the death toll was preliminary, and that the total could change if the medical examiner determines any deaths were not storm-related.