(NEW PEKIN) - The parents and their three children - all 2 or under, including one buckled in a car seat - held hands on the hallway floor of their neighbor's mobile home in New Pekin, just south of Salem, praying a fast-approaching storm would show them mercy. (TribTown)
Mother nature answered with a fierce tornado, which violently swept them up, separated them and deposited them about 100 yards away.
The bodies of 20-year-old Moriah Brough, 21-year-old Joseph Babcock, 2-month-old Kendall and 3-year-old Jaydon, were all found after the storm.
But for two days, hope lived on in the form of 15-month-old Angel Babcock. That glimmer died at 4:10 p.m. Sunday, Angel's extended family made the decision to take her off life support. Angel suffered from severe neck and head injuries.
The Babcocks lived in one of a cluster of homes adjacent to a field and near a saw mill that the Lanham family - which owns the mill - had let them live in as they tried to get on their feet.
One of their neighbors, Jason Miller, saw the storm coming and invited the family to his larger, double-wide mobile home, believing it would be safer for everyone. What happened next was a devastating blur.
After the twister finally passed, Andy Lanham - who lives nearby - joined residents searching for people who needed help. They found the bodies of Moriah Brough and Joseph Babcock, in gravel behind the saw mill. Their three children had been flung, into the muddy field.
Only Angel was alive. She was flown by helicopter to Kosair Children's Hospital.
Jason Miller, meanwhile, was spotted walking around, bloodied and muddy. The tornado thrust him 40 to 50 feet in the air, before depositing him face-first in the mud. Miller has five broken ribs, a partially collapsed left lung, an elbow in three pieces, a shoulder blade broken in two places and a fractured back. Yet he acknowledges he was the lucky one.
Angel's grandfather, Jack Brough, released a statement through the hospital noting that "Angel has been reunited with her parents." A private funeral was held for the family Monday in Salem.
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