Louisville, Ky. An Indiana toddler found in a field after violent tornadoes died Sunday after being taken off life support, ending a hopeful tale for survivors in the Midwest and South picking through the storms’ devastation.
Fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock of New Pekin, Ind., was found after her family’s mobile home was destroyed in Friday’s storms. Her father, mother and two siblings were killed.
When Angel arrived at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville Friday night, she was opening her eyes — a hopeful sign, chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said.
Things turned on Saturday, when the swelling in her brain didn’t decrease, he said. As the day went on, her eyes ceased to move and she continued to deteriorate. There was no sign of brain activity.
Medical staff told the family there wasn’t anything more they could do. With extended family gathered to say goodbye, the family made the decision to end life support on Sunday.
“Angel has been reunited with her parents,” her grandfather, Jack Brough, said in a statement. “We want to thank God for all of you and for your thoughts and prayers. God will bring you and all of us out of this.”
The girl’s death brings the overall toll from Friday’s storms to 39 across five states. Rescuers were still going door to door in rural areas to rule out more victims. Another round of storms earlier last week killed 13 people in the Midwest and South, the latest in a string of severe-weather episodes ravaging the American heartland in the past year.
On Sunday, people gathered to worship, comb through piles of debris and learn what happened to loved ones and friends, often without modern technology to help.
Cellphone signals were hard to find, Internet was out and electricity indefinitely interrupted. In many cases, word-of-mouth conversations replaced text messages, Facebook status updates and phone calls.
“It’s horrible. It’s things you take for granted that aren’t there anymore,” said Jack Cleveland, 50, a Census Bureau worker from Henryville, Ind.