'Miracle' toddler who survived being swept up in tornado loses battle for life
A TODDLER who was found in a field after being swept up in a tornado which killed her parents and siblings survived for two days before finally losing her battle for life.
Angel Babcock, 20 months, died in hospital after being found with severe head injuries following a deadly storm which tore apart her family's mobile home in New Pekin, southern Indiana, on Friday evening.
Her tragic story ignited international sympathy. Twenty members of her extended family including both sets of grandparents were at her bedside as her life support machine was turned off at 4.10pm.
She was discovered by rescuers in the dark near the town of Salem, in a field which some reports suggested was as much as 10 miles from her home.
Other sources said that the distance was less, but that Angel's initial survival remained a miracle given the severity of the winds.
Her parents and siblings were among the at least 39 people are known to have been killed when a series of tornadoes struck in a swathe of storms which battered much of the United States on Friday.
The body of her mother, Moriah Brough, 20, was under a tree nearby along with those of her brother Jayden, two, and baby sister, Kendall, two months, who was still strapped into her baby seat.
Her 21-year-old father Joseph was discovered dead across the road from their home.
The little girl’s grandparents told NBC News they took the decision to remove her from a life support machine due to the severity of her injuries, which included catastrophic brain damage.
They had spent the preceding two days at her bedside in Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
Earlier, her grandfather Jack Brough said: “She is in extremely critical condition.
She’s had a lot of injuries to her head.
“The doctors told us that the next 24-48 hours are very critical. I’m just asking everyone to pray for my granddaughter and for my family.”
The family was last seen lying face down in the hallway of their mobile home holding hands and praying as the tornado approached.
A neighbour, Jason Miller, ran over to offer them shelter in his larger mobile home, but was picked up by the twister and hurled across the road.
He survived with several broken bones and is in a stable condition in hospital.
Marcia Lanham, whose daughter Beverley is Mr Miller’s girlfriend, said: “He’s a hero. He went next door to bring them over, and they all got killed.”
Mr Brough told how he had been on his way to meet his daughter, Angel’s mother, when the tornado siren went off.
He said: “We got in the car and started driving and as we got closer and closer, the whole area was flattened.
“I kept saying, ’Oh my God! Oh my God!’ I was breathing so hard. I couldn’t see my daughter’s trailer for nothing. It was gone.
“She was always happy and loved life,” he added. “She went to church every week.
“But her entire life was about Joe and her children. She loved her kids; she was always with them.”
Sherry Young, a friend of the family, said: “Kendall was found in her car seat upside down. Jayden was found under the rubble.
“Joseph was found on the opposite side of the road from his house.
"Moriah was found underneath a tree. Angel was found out in the middle of the field all alone.”
At least 39 people are known to have died in the storms which tore through 17 states, an area stretching from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.
At one point, around a third of the United States in the south and Midwest of the country, was under a tornado warning.
Worst hit were the towns of Marysville and Henryville in Indiana, and New Liberty, Kentucky, which are said to have been virtually wiped out.
Officials said that at least 20 people had lost their lives in Kentucky, 14 in Indiana, three in Ohio and one each in Alabama and Georgia.
The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers check on shattered homes and other buildings. Hundreds of people were injured in the storms, many seriously.
Gilber Acciardo, of the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department in Kentucky, said: “Lost legs, amputations for sure, a lot of serious broken bones, a lot of severe injuries, head injuries.”
A four-year-old boy who was ripped from his mother’s arms by a tornado as they took shelter from the storm in the cellar of their farmhouse was found dead along with his great grandparents.
The bodies of Davlin, Terry and Carol Jackson were discovered in a field behind their home in West Liberty, Kentucky.
At least 12 states suffered more than 100 tornadoes each in a storm system which came at the start of the bad weather season, leading experts to predict more devastation and deaths over the coming months.
They followed a severe storm two days earlier that killed 13 people in the Midwest and south.
The National Weather Service reported that four of the twisters which hit Kentucky were the worst for 24 years.
Indiana suffered an EF-4, the second highest possible, with tornadoes reaching 175 mph hitting Henryville, birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder “Colonel” Harland Sanders, and cutting a swathe of devastation 50 miles wide.
Three of the Kentucky tornadoes had wind speeds reaching 160 mph.
Television news showed extraordinary scenes of damage, including homes, schools and businesses town apart, trees uprooted and cars and buses tossed into buildings.