Lincoln Journal Star, Brynn Anderson, Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock seemed to be the miracle survivor of a deadly tornado that killed her parents and two siblings when she arrived Friday night at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Though critically injured when the twister scooped her up and deposited her in a field, Angel was opening her eyes. Hospital workers said that was a hopeful sign.
But the New Pekin, Ind., girl's condition deteriorated Saturday as her brain swelled, chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said. As the day went on, Angel's eyes ceased to move, and there was no sign of brain activity.
The child's grandmother, Kathy Babcock, told ABC News that she and other relatives decided Sunday afternoon to remove Angel from life support after medical staff told them there was nothing more they could do.
"I had my arm around her when she took her last breath," Babcock said. "I sang to her 'Itsy-bitsy spider.'"
Angel's death ended a hopeful tale for survivors in the Midwest and South and brought to 39 the number of people killed by the storms that devastated five states.
As residents picked through the rubble and made plans to bury their dead, they also began trying to find a semblance of normalcy as officials continued to assess the damage.
The National Weather Service in Louisville, Ky., said the tornado that struck New Pekin measured an EF-3 on the enhanced Fujita scale, while another tornado that struck nearby Henryville, Ind., was stronger yet, measuring an EF-4 and packing winds of 175 mph.
Early Monday, a blanket of wet snow covered Henryville and other parts of tornado-stricken Clark County. State homeland security spokeswoman Emily Norcross said the 2 to 4 inches of snow could slow cleanup efforts because it concealed potential hazards.
"It's slippery and it's hampering visibility on roads, so it's more difficult to see small debris like nails," Norcross said. "It's complicating things."
Theresa McCarty, owner of Pop Top Bar in New Pekin, said her husband was with emergency workers Friday when they found the Babcock family. Their bodies had been scattered, she said.
McCarty, her friends and co-workers talked about establishing the bar as a central refuge for victims of the tornado from the immediate region, including making roughly 1,000 meals Sunday for victims and volunteers.
But when she talked about the Babcock family, she got quiet: "It was the whole family."
Speaking from his bed at the University of Louisville Hospital, Jason Miller told NBC's "Today" show Monday that he invited the Babcock family into his home as the storm was bearing down. As it hit, they took shelter in the hallway, grabbed hands and began to pray.
Miller said he remembers being sucked up into the air but blacked out soon after. His arm, back and five ribs were broken.
"It's very saddening to hear that the whole family passed away and I was sitting right there holding their hands two seconds before they died," Miller said.
A memorial service for the Babcock family was scheduled for Monday afternoon at a church in Salem, Ind.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told CBS' "Face the Nation" that the twister "moved like a lawnmower though some of the most beautiful countryside, and some of the most beautiful towns that we have."
A story of hope emerged from North Carolina, where three children survived after being torn from their beds by a tornado early Saturday. The twister sucked 7-year-old Jamal Stevens from his room and threw him about 100 feet from his Charlotte area home to land alongside an interstate. His 3- and 4-year old sisters were found in nearby yards. All three were released from a hospital Sunday.
- Colorado Mormons join other faiths in...
- Washington Post writer: Mitt Romney lost...
- Pew study: News media inserted bias into gay...
- Video: Miss Utah USA flubs answer at Miss USA...
- NPR writer 'slightly' defends Miss Utah USA's...
- Parents rally after Canadian elementary...
- Issues plaguing black families in the...
- Cap'n Crunch refutes claims he's not actually...
- Pew study: News media inserted bias... 51
- Video: Miss Utah USA flubs answer at... 26
- Parents rally after Canadian elementary... 23
- New York English teacher assigns... 16
- Washington Post writer: Mitt Romney... 16
- Officials: NSA programs broke terrorist... 15
- IRS official: Washington scrutinized... 15
- NSA director says surveillance programs... 14