BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalMarch 27, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | March 27, 2023
1 year ago

Dad and One-Year-Old Daughter Die Together in Horrific Tornado, Death Tolls Rises to 26

Amid the debris strewn across Mississippi from tornadoes that savaged multiple towns Friday night lies the wreckage of the Herndon family.

Days before 1-year-old Riley was to have had surgery to deal with health complications she battled since birth, she and her father Ethan, 33, were killed in the devastation that left every living member of the family seriously injured.

Elizabeth Herndon and the couple’s two other children, Brantley, 7, and Aubrey, 4, were hospitalized with serious injuries, but expected to pull through, according to the Sun.

The National Weather Service said the tornado was rated at the EF-4 level, which meant top gusts between 166 mph and 200 mph hit towns like Rolling Fork, which was devastated, and Wren, where the Herndons lived, according to Fox News. By the time the deadly winds stopped, a 59-mile path of destruction was testimony to its passing.

At least 26 people were killed when tornadoes swept across the state Friday night, according to The New York Times.

Rachel Atkins, Riley’s aunt, said the surviving Herndon children face long stays in a pediatric hospital.

She revealed that Riley was born prematurely, and despite battling health problems for which surgery was scheduled this week she was “a really happy baby.”

Her siblings are “asking about her now, And they’re not going to be able to understand this for a while,” Atkins said.

Ethan Herndon would “do anything for anybody. He loved his family more than anything, and he loved God more than anything too,” Atkins said.

Their home has been demolished. A GoFundMe has been set up by Walter Edington.

“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. Our family is grateful for all of the people calling to offer their help, and I hope this will be one way for people to wrap their arms around this beautiful family and share what comfort we can all offer. I will personally see to it that every dollar in this account is put directly into the hands of Ethan's family. Thank you and God bless you,” Edington wrote on the page.

The page said Elizabeth Herndon’s injuries included a broken arm, a broken leg and a dislocated hip. Brantley suffered broken bones, a lacerated liver, and a punctured lung. Aubrey suffered multiple lacerations, a broken elbow and a possible broken ankle, the page said.


Mike Barlow of Rolling Fork said he and his wife barely had time to escape their house.

“It roared, and the next thing you knew, the roof left,” he said. “It was the worst thing I have ever been through.”

Video of the town showed the devastation, with few structures unscathed.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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