They Married Young, Split, Reunited. Both Died in Tornado

Another family lost 10 of its members
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 6, 2019 11:57 AM CST
10 Members of the Same Family Died in Alabama Tornado
Tornado damage near Beauregard, Ala., on Monday March 4, 2019. Friends in eastern Alabama are helping tornado survivors retrieve the scattered pieces of their lives after devastating winds destroyed their homes and killed at least 23 people.   (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

The death toll in Alabama's recent tornado stands at 23, with the Lee County sheriff announcing Wednesday that all missing people have been accounted for in Beauregard. And 10 of those victims were all members of the same extended family. Cousins Cordarrly Jones and Demetria Jones tell the AP they lost their grandparents, an uncle, and seven cousins by both blood and marriage. Still more of their relatives remain hospitalized with serious injuries. "Everybody in this area just about was related," says Demetria Jones. "It's devastating." The Montgomery Advertiser has the story of two other victims, a couple that had married young and had two children together before splitting up, then reconnecting years later when Sheila Creech left Florida after surviving Hurricane Michael in October. She and Marshall Lynn Grimes, both 59, had recently gotten re-engaged. They both died in the tornado Sunday.

Two corporations, which do not wish to be named, are paying for the 23 victims' funerals, USA Today reports. Pope Francis has sent his condolences to the victims, and President Trump will visit the area Friday. He also approved Gov. Kay Ivey's request to have the county, where dozens of homes were also destroyed, declared a major disaster area. "President Trump has been very gracious and pledged his unwavering support to Alabama," said Ivey, who was scheduled to tour the devastation Wednesday. Meanwhile, the AP reports that more severe weather is coming to the area: Forecasters say a storm system arriving in the South this weekend will bring with it a tornado risk, and the swath of the region at risk from Texas to Georgia includes Beauregard as well as most of the rest of the state. (The youngest victim of the tornado was a 6-year-old ripped from his father's arms.)

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