A Mississippi family is “physically and emotionally shattered” after their house was destroyed by a dangerous tornado on Friday, killing a father and his young daughter and injuring the rest of his family, according to loved ones.
According to The New York Times, Ethan Herndon, 33, and his 1-year-old daughter Riley were killed when a storm hit their house in Wren, where they resided on a street called after their family, which had lived there for centuries.
Riley, who was only a month away from turning two, was recalled by her relative as “a really happy baby,” according to the newspaper. Her brother, a Navy veteran who worked at an RV dealership, she said, “loved his family more than anything.”
His wife, Elizabeth, and Riley’s elder brothers, Aubrey and Brantley, survive Ethan and Riley. “This sweet family is physically and emotionally shattered. They have suffered the most painful and terrifying loss any of us can imagine, and their needs are obvious and great,” reads a message on the family’s GoFundMe, which has raised over $131,000 as of Monday.
Elizabeth “suffered multiple injuries including a broken arm and leg as well as a dislocated hip,” a family member wrote. “Brantley, the oldest child was airlifted to LeBonheur Hospital immediately with multiple broken bones, a lacerated liver, and a punctured lung,” the family member shared, adding that Aubrey was hospitalized with “multiple lacerations, a broken elbow, and a possible broken ankle.”
Ethan’s relative wrote over the weekend that the family’s injuries were “much more extensive” than they had anticipated and that Ethan’s parents had also lost their house. Ethan’s sister wrote in a separate post that Brantley will need “extensive surgery” and that Aubrey’s “oxygen level is struggling to stay where it needs to be.”
Despite their “heartbreaking” loss, the family is thankful for the love and support that they have received.“I visited Elizabeth today. I told her there were so many people who loved her and were praying for her, Brantley, and Aubrey,” Ethan’s cousin wrote on Sunday. “She said she could feel the prayers from everyone.”
“She has a long recovery ahead of her, but with God’s grace, she will continue to improve day by day,” the cousin’s post continued. “Please continue to lift her up in prayer along with Brantley and Aubrey.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recorded 25 deaths and dozens of injuries as a result of the deadly storms that ripped through the state as of Sunday. In addition, at least one other person was killed in Alabama as a result of the weather.
Gov. Tate Reeves cautioned over the weekend that “more bad weather is heading our way” as search and recovery efforts resume. According to MEMA, there was a “moderate” danger of extreme weather in central Mississippi and throughout the state on Monday.
“Please take caution, check weather alerts, and keep your families safe,” Tate wrote on social media. “We’re monitoring the situation and have emergency management prepared to respond as necessary.”
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