Those Who Were Lost to Midwest Tornadoes: 'God This Doesn't Seem Real,' Says Dad of 2-Month Old Baby Who Died
The youngest victim of the deadly Kentucky tornado was 2-month-old Oaklynn Koon.
The youngest victim of tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest was 2-month Oaklynn Koon of Dawson Springs, Kentucky.
Her anguished father posted a photo of her tiny hand as she lay in a hospital bed, fighting for her all too short life. The family had hunkered down in a bathroom, with Oaklynn strapped into her car seat because her parents reasoned it provide greater protection for her.
But the monstrous winds that churned through their small town sucked the Koons from their hiding place and slammed them across the street.
For a time, it seemed Oaklynn might pull through. But the swelling in her brain did not subside, and doctors told her parents she had no brain activity. The parents made a Solomon's decision and removed her from life support.
"God this doesn't seem real," her dad, Douglas Koon, posted on his page.
The surreal storms and tornadoes that swept through six states over the weekend are estimated to have killed nearly 90 people. At least 74 were in western Kentucky, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. At least 100 people are unaccounted for, the governor said.
"With this amount of damage and rubble, it may be a week or even more before we have a final count on the number of lost lives," Beshear said.
The town of Mayfield was virtually leveled by the roaring funnel cloud. At a factory that produces scented candles, at least 110 employees were inside, rushing to fill Christmas orders.
At least eight people there lost their lives, authorities said, including a sheriff's deputy, Robert Daniel, who was supervising inmates participating in work-release program. The father of seven died while trying to rescues his charges and factory employees.
"He died saving lives and for that, he deserves all the honor. He deserves everything. He did his job and he did it well because all of his inmates survived," his daughter, Jenna Daniels, told CBS News.
"I can't believe it. He was such a great man, such a good dad," she said. "He did what he could, when he could. Even if he couldn't, he still tried. I'm gonna miss him."
Darryl Johnson arrived at the factory early Saturday to search for his 50-year-old sister, Nancy. But the grandmother of 16 did not survive.
"If I expected anyone, it would be her. Because she's a fighter," he said. "I'm very angry. I'm angry at Mayfield Consumer Products for not heeding this (tornado) warning," Darryl said.
Some employees have publicly said factory supervisors told them they would be fired if they went home. The factory owners deny those claims.
Mayfield Consumer Products Plant Manager Michael Staten told CBS News the "city has never seen such a tornado. However, we've had many tornado drills. Also it's just something that we never even imagined would have even happened."
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