Family members reflect on loved ones who died from overnight tornado


Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus

DIEHLSTADT, Mo. — Loy Miller and his two sons, Jasper and Randy, were in the direct path an an EF2 tornado that tore a path through their property.

Their mobile home was blown away and debris stretches as far back as 200 feet behind their property.

"We lost three of them in one night. In a blink of an eye, our family is gone," said Heather Miller, who lost three members of her family.

Standing arm in arm with her family, Miller recalled the phone call from her cousin that changed her life forever.

"She told me they couldn't get ahold of nobody at Papa's," she said tearfully.

No one answered because Miller's grandfather, uncle and dad weren't inside their home.

"Then, I got a call my uncle was dead and they couldn't find my papa and my daddy," said Miller.

First responders eventually found all three men. They were scattered across their property and even buried under their own belongings.

"They were tossed around like they were nothing," Miller said, crying. "They were something. They were my everything."

Rick Shanklin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, spent several hours looking over the field of debris and determined it wasn't a result of just strong winds.

"We see quite a bit direction variation in how things are strewn which is one of the big indications of tornado damage," he said.

Shanklin said the mobile home was no match for the tornado.

"It was not tied down, so that did allow it to become airborne," he said.

Miller did get the chance to see her dad one last time. The funeral director allowed her family one last memory.

"After me and my brother talked to him, to our dad, and hugged him and kissed him, we felt such a relief," she said. "It was like our daddy was telling us he was okay."

Family members tell Local 6 the clean up will take several days. In fact, they will be going over the belongings by hand but they said there is not a lot to salvage.