Kentucky family of seven among those killed in tornado

In the days following a tornado that destroyed Bowling Green, Kentucky, Rochelle Finkton remained hopeful. She was already learning tha...


In the days following a tornado that destroyed Bowling Green, Kentucky, Rochelle Finkton remained hopeful. She was already learning that the December 10 tornado killed her sister Rachel Brown, as well as Ms Brown’s husband Steven Brown, three of their four children and the children’s grandmother, Victoria Smith.

One child, Nyssa Brown, 13, was missing and Ms Finkton believed that maybe somehow her niece was in a hospital somewhere or had been housed by the Salvation Army, she declared.

On Thursday, Ms Finkton was informed that Nyssa’s body had been found. Joined on Saturday and still overcome with grief, she said she was relieved that the authorities had found her niece, “so that we can have a closure. So that they all go home.

Nyssa Brown was also the latest victim to be picked up from Bowling Green.

Kentucky officials on Friday reported 77 deaths statewide and only one person remains missing after multiple tornadoes devastated the state a week ago. The storm produced just one tornado in particular that traveled nearly 164 miles through Kentucky, according to the National Weather Service. Overall, tornadoes in five states killed at least 90 people that night.

“It looks like a war zone,” Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said of the destruction in Bowling Green, where 16 people died in the tornado and another resident died of a heart attack noticeable when cleaning up debris. “There is rubble, debris, downed trees, gutters, bricks, businesses that have been barricaded now, broken glass.

“It really went through the heart of our community,” he added.

The tornado reached speeds of up to 150 miles per hour as it shredded a path on Moss Creek Avenue, where the Brown family lived in a small but comfortable house, across downtown.

On Saturday Ms Finkton said the scale of the losses to her sister, brother-in-law, mother-in-law and nieces and nephews – Nariah Cayshelle Brown, 16; Nyssa Brown; Nolynn Brown, 8; and Nyles Brown, 4 – had just noticed her.

“I’m at a loss for words right now, because it really hit me now,” she said, as she prepared to travel from her home in Indianapolis to Bowling Green for Tuesday’s funeral. .

She said the pain was made even greater by the fact that she would not be able to see her sister’s body or be able to save anything from the house, which was destroyed.

“Their house was completely destroyed to the foundations,” Sheriff Hightower said.

“I don’t think anything was really picked up because of the way it hit – it blew it up,” Ms Finkton said.

Credit…Rochelle finkton

She and Ms Brown (who spelled her first name as Rachael on social media) were close, she said, despite hours apart. They spoke on the phone every other day, Ms Finkton said. Sometimes Ms. Brown would call, upset about a problem within the family. “She just tried to help everyone. That’s the kind of person she was, ”Ms. Finkton said.

She said her sister was known as a happy person who loved her children, her husband and her mother, who was sick and for whom Ms Brown was caring. The family were close, said Ms Finkton, and enjoyed going out and cooking together, especially during the holidays when they were cooking ribs, beans, fried corn, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese in from scratch.

“They just did family things – I mean it wasn’t much, but the things they did, they made it great, and she always had a smile on her face,” said Mrs. Finkton. “Even though they were just going to the park, it was a family affair.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Kentucky family of seven among those killed in tornado
Kentucky family of seven among those killed in tornado
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