Skip to main content

Families remember Oklahoma tornado victims

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Thu May 30, 2013
<a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/22/us/oklahoma-tornado-victims/index.html' target='_blank'>Kyle Davis</a>, 8, was among 24 who died during the tornado that pummeled Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. He was at Plaza Towers Elementary School when the twister hit. His parents called him "Hammy." Kyle Davis, 8, was among 24 who died during the tornado that pummeled Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday, May 20. He was at Plaza Towers Elementary School when the twister hit. His parents called him "Hammy."
HIDE CAPTION
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
Victims of the Oklahoma tornado
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Mother kept calling for her boys before she died
  • Kyle Davis, 8, was a good student who loved soccer and his older sister
  • Tawuana Robinson called her daughter as twister hovered, telling her she was in closet
  • Christopher Legg loved sports, horsing around with his Dad

(CNN) -- Kyle Davis was 100% boy. He loved going with his grandpa to see Monster Trucks, and would hoot and clap whenever one of those giant things would roll over and crush a smaller car. Because he was a good kid and got A's and B's, his family would sometimes reward him with a trip to the lake and let him ride his four-wheeler around.

The 8-year-old was a force on the soccer field. His stocky build earned him a nickname: "The Wall."

"Kids just bounced off of him," Davis' grandfather Marvin Dixon said Wednesday. "He just loved being with his Pawpaw and I loved being with him. I'm just going to miss him."

Kyle was among 24 people who lost their lives Monday when a massive tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, just outside Oklahoma City.

An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm's winds topped 200 mph as it carved a 17-mile path of destruction through Oklahoma City suburbs. On Tuesday, May 21, CNN sent photographer David McNeese to capture the story from above: An aerial view of the destruction caused by the massive tornado that struck areas south of Oklahoma City on Monday, May 20, shows the magnitude of damage left in its path. The storm's winds topped 200 mph as it carved a 17-mile path of destruction through Oklahoma City suburbs. On Tuesday, May 21, CNN sent photographer David McNeese to capture the story from above:
The path of destruction from above
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
>
>>
Photos: Destruction from above Photos: Destruction from above
Loved ones remember tornado victims
Father, aunt grieve for 9 yr.-old girl
CNN has confirmed these victims of Monday's tornado

-- Sydney Angle, 9;

-- Hemant Bhonde, 65;

-- Richard Brown, 41;

-- Antonia Candelaria, 9;

-- Emily Conatzer, 9;

-- Kyle Davis, 8;

-- Case Futrell, 4 months;

-- Megan Futrell, 29;

-- Jenae Hornsby, 9;

-- Leslie Johnson, 46;

-- Rick Jones, 54;

-- Christopher Legg, 9;

-- Terri Long, 49;

-- Nicolas McCabe, 9;

-- Jenny Neely, 38;

-- Cindy Plumley, 45;

-- Shannon Quick, 40;

-- William Sass, 63;

-- Randy Smith, 39;

-- Gina Stromski, 51;

-- Tawuana Robinson, 45;

-- Sydnee Vargyas, 7 months;

-- Karrina Vargyas, 4;

-- Deanna Ward, 70.





He was one of seven children who died at Plaza Towers Elementary School.

His parents called him 'Hammy'

Talking to Marvin Dixon and Kyle's grandmother, Sharon Dixon, it's clear right away that you don't have to ask any questions about the third-grader. So broken-hearted but so full of love and memories for their grandson, they just want to talk about him.

"I could talk to you all day about him because he was our son, too," Sharon Dixon said. "He was always asking, 'Can I stay at your house?' We kept a nightlight on for him because he was afraid of the dark."

"I'm going to miss his smile," Marvin Dixon said. "It would melt your heart, but you also look at it and wonder, 'Bud, what are you up to?'"

"Me and his mom started calling him Hambone and then Hammy because he liked being in front of the camera. I don't think we ever did call him Kyle."

Marvin Dixon dropped his grandson and granddaughter, Kaylee, 11, off at school Monday. Kaylee was struggling to lift her school project out of the car.

"Sissy, I'll get this for you and take it in for you," Kyle said.

Funeral held for Kyle Davis

"I told him that I thought that was a very gentlemanly thing to do," Marvin Dixon recalled.

He told the kids, "OK, I'll see you at 3. I love you."

"I love you, too, Pawpaw," Kyle answered.

Kaylee survived the twister that ripped the school apart around 3 p.m. She was in the main building, but Kyle and his classmates were hunkered down in another building, the Dixons said.

"It was just hailing, really coming down as that thing got closer and we got in the car," Marvin said.

"The school was in lockdown. I would have gone to pick them up. I would have. I would have risked it, but I couldn't. They wouldn't let me get to him."

Inside a tornado-ravaged school

The Dixons managed to outrun the tornado in their car. When they were able to turn around, traffic was backed up on the interstate. By this time, the Dixons had Kyle's mother with them. They drove as close as they could to the school, about two miles away, then got out and began running toward it.

As they got closer, they could barely comprehend what they were seeing

"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" Marvin said. "My daughter was hysterical."

Photographer captures snapshot of courage

Kaylee had somehow walked away from the devastation with a few bruises.

"We're not angry at the school," Marvin Dixon said. "But I want them to get something better for the next time because we can't say this horrible thing won't happen again. I want the kids to have a safer place to go in the future."

Mother leaves behind two young boys

Shannon Quick was at home with her mother and two boys. The debris cut open her midsection, and she lay on the floor, telling her mom she was having a hard time breathing.

Joy Waldroop said her daughter, who was 40, also kept calling for her boys.

"She kept saying,'Tanner! Jackson! Tanner! Jackson!'"

Waldroop consoled her daughter and told her to lay still.

Quick, who was clutching the pants leg of an emergency worker, died.

"All of a sudden her arm went limp," Waldroop said.

She said her daughter had a profound effect on others.

"She was so good," she said. "There's not a soul that doesn't love her."

Mother's instinct saves lives of 3 sons

Young girl was a 'ball of love'

Angela Hornsby threw up her arms in frustration Monday as she sat at home watching a news anchor tell people to seek shelter underground. She doesn't have a basement.

She wondered about her niece, Jenae Hornsby, a third-grader at Plaza Towers.

"I thought she was safe in school," Hornsby said. But Jenae wasn't. She died along with Kyle and their five other classmates.

Watch Hornsby talk to Anderson Cooper

Just last weekend, Hornsby's 14-year-old daughter and Jenae and all of Jenae's many cousins were at a park in Moore. They had just come from church. The girls were dressing up and joking around, wearing their aunt's wig.

"They loved to dress up and dance to Beyonce, pretend they were Beyonce," Angela Hornsby said. "They would tape each other with their phones and play it back."

The 14-year-old is so upset about Jenae that she's been throwing up and is at home in bed. "My daughter said to me, 'I don't want to sound crazy but maybe she's gonna call me. Maybe Jenae's not dead, Mom.'"

Angela doesn't know how her brother -- Jenae's father, Joshua -- is going to move forward.

Tuesday night, Joshua Hornsby, talking to CNN's "AC360," called his daughter "a ball of energy, a ball of love."

"She was the best kid anybody could have," he said.

He vowed to make "his baby proud and keep pushing on like I know she would want me to do."

Doctor's quick thinking saves patients

He never met a stranger

Christopher Legg "loved to play sports, and fight for justice," an obituary posted on a cousin's website said.

He also had been diagnosed with melanoma, skin cancer, and a condition that causes terrible knee pain.

The tough little 9-year old faced them with strength and enthusiasm, just as he lived his life.

"You were always always a friend in his eyes," the tribute said.

He was a well-rounded athlete, playing baseball, basketball and football. He also like to wrestle, to roughhouse with his Dad, his older brother and a sister.

Christopher, a third-grader, died at Plaza Towers Elementary.

Her mother was everything

Angeletta Santiago is struggling this week, too. Her mother, Tawuana Robinson, died in the storm.

"To lose her to something so devastating ... it hurts," Santiago told CNN affiliate KSDK.

Her mother called her just as the tornado was bearing down on her.

"She said 'yes, the tornado has touched down. I am in my closet,'" Santiago recalled. "I love you."

Robinson lived a block from Plaza Towers Elementary School. The phone line went dead.

Santiago tried to call her mother back but couldn't get through. After hours passed, she went on Facebook and searched victim websites.

"I had hope and I prayed," she said.

"I had a friend in my mother. I had a mother in my mom. I had a sister in my mom. I had everything a girl could want in a mom," she said.

"My heart goes out to everybody ... the babies, the mothers who will never be able to see their children again. I hope you're healing."

How to help

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Oklahoma City Tornadoes
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Mon June 3, 2013
Heavy storms and tornadoes once again ripped through the Midwest. Already devastated areas of Oklahoma were hit again, and this time the damage spread to neighboring states. Here's how you can help.
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Thu May 30, 2013
Families share memories and snapshots of those we lost in the Oklahoma tornado devastation.
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Wed June 5, 2013
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office says 18 people in that state were killed in the storms. The office has released the names of 11.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
They chased tornadoes not so much for the thrill, but in the hope that their research might help people avoid the fate to which they succumbed last week.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Tue June 4, 2013
A menacing tornado churned behind Mike Eilts as the storm chaser's truck sped away.
updated 6:26 AM EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
Why do people in Tornado Alley keep rebuilding and staying in place after storms rip through? People from Moore share their reasons why.
updated 5:07 PM EDT, Mon May 27, 2013
See the best images from the deadly storm.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
It's one of the most familiar pieces of advice from authorities to people in the path of a tornado: Get into your basement.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
On Sunday, a mystery photograph fluttered from the sky and landed near Leslie Hagelberg's mailbox in West Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The tornado spanned 1.3 miles -- the length of more than 22 football fields lined up end-to-end -- carved a 17-mile path of destruction.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
Second-grade teacher Tammy Glasgow walks around what's left of Briarwood Elementary, struggling to pick out of its wreckage the things that once made a school.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed May 22, 2013
It was the end of the school day. The kids at Plaza Towers Elementary School were stuffing their backpacks, looking forward to going home, playing with friends, eating snacks.
updated 12:09 PM EDT, Tue May 21, 2013
The "Tri-State Tornado" killed 695 people and injured 2,027, traveling more than 300 miles.
See the path of the tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT