The massive system of tornadoes that swept through the middle of the country on Friday has left plenty of devastation and tragic stories in its wake, but one of the most heartbreaking is that of a toddler in New Pekin, Indiana who was found lying alone in a field after the storm. At first, no one knew who she was or how she'd ended up there, but after being taken to a nearby hospital, she was eventually identified as Angel Babcock, and it was determined that the rest of her family had been killed when a funnel cloud obliterated her home.
A neighbor, Jason Miller, saw her moments before the tornado hit inside her family's mobile home with her father, Joseph Babcock, 21, her mother, Moriah Brough, 20. They had gathered Angel (who has been reported to be either 14- or 20-months old) and their other two children, Jaydon, age 2, and Kendall, who was only 2 months old, and were huddled, holding hands and praying, in the hallway as the storm approached. Miller had been trying to bring them back to his larger mobile home, which would have been safer, but before they could go, the funnel cloud arrived. It picked up Miller and threw him to the ground, leaving him with several broken bones. The Babcocks, sadly, were not so lucky.
The tornado ripped right through their house. Joseph's body was found across the road from the house. Moriah was found under a tree. Jaydon was buried under rubble, and here is the most terrible detail: Baby Kendall was found upside down, still in her car seat. Somehow Angel, who must have been picked up by the funnel cloud, landed alone in a nearby field and survived, though she was seriously injured. After she was found, she was first taken to a local hospital and then flown to a larger hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, where she was on life support until today.
Her grandfather, Jack Brough, managed to track down his granddaughter at the hospital, where he also learned that his daughter, son-in-law, and other two grandchildren had been killed. He and the rest of his family had been with Angel at the hospital and were praying for another miracle. Brough said yesterday, "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." Sadly, the doctors took Angel off life support today, and she passed away a short time later.
Although the damage in the area was extensive, Angel and her family were the only people in the county that were killed. Though, as of today, the entire storm system has killed at least 37 people, 12 of whom were in Indiana.
Toddler found after twister dies in hospital [MSNBC]
Angel Babcock: Baby Who Survived Tornado on Life Support [ABC News]
Toddler found in Indiana field after tornadoes remains in critical condition [CNN]