Hurricane victims include Missouri girl, aunt’s ‘special angel’

Trey and Meghan Rackley and their three daughters seek shelter in a windowless bathroom to their southeast Missouri homeland like storms raging across the central part of the country. To prove they were in “safe space” as the storm was approaching on Friday night, the girls’ mother texted her aunt Sandy a picture of the three of them in and beside the tub. – all smiling, 9 year old Annistyn hugging her. favorite doll.

In this undated photo provided by Sandra Hooker, the Rackley family poses for a photo while traveling to Sedona, Arizona. From left are Annistyn, 9, Avalinn, 7, Alanna, 3, and their parents, Megan and Trey. Annistyn, who enjoys swimming, dancing and bouncing, was among dozens of people killed by a severe storm Friday, December 10, 2021. A tornado hit her home and shattered it. less than a week after the family moved in. (Summer Alexander / Courtesy of Sandra Hooker via AP)

Fifteen minutes later, Sandra Hooker said, a tornado tore through the house, sending family members tens of meters through the air into a field where first responders found them in the mud. Annistyn, a third-grader who loved swimming, dancing and bouncing, has died, one of dozens of people killed in five states.

Other family members were injured, but survived. Avalinn, seven, told doctors she flew around “in the tornado,” Hooker said.

Hooker called Annistyn Rackley a “special angel”, recalling the girl as a cheerful and energetic girl despite a rare liver disease that required frequent doctor visits. Hooker teaches gifted students at the same elementary school where Meghan Rackley teaches kindergarten in Caruthersville, which is nestled next to the Mississippi River in an area known as Missouri’s Bootheel.

Hoer’s account of what happened to Rackleys comes from speaking with law enforcement and first responders who were on the scene after the tornado and found family members on the wing. copper. Hooker also said she spoke to the girl’s father.

“Their house fell to pieces,” she told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “There were debris scattered around the field forever, and so they were sucked into the tornado.”

Tornadoes also rumbled through both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the St. Louis, as well as the Memphis, Tennessee, area and parts of Arkansas and Illinois. A candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky, and an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Illinois, was hacked.

West of St. Louis, Ollie Borgmann, 84 years old, is described as a sweet and “Typical Grandma” died at a hospital after a tornado on Friday blew Defiance, Missouri, the home she shared with her 84-year-old husband, Vernon, from its foundations.

In Pemiscot County in southeastern Missouri, which borders Arkansas and Kentucky, where Rackleys lives, the sheriff’s office did not immediately return phone messages Monday seeking comment on the storm that devastated the area. destroy the Rackleys’ house. Governor Mike Parson’s office said initially about 30,000 Missouri residents were without electricity.

On December 10, 2021, photo provided by Sandra Hooker, from left, Avalinn Rackley, 7, Alanna Rackley, 3, and Annistyn Rackley, 9, posing for a photo in the bathroom of their home near Caruthersville, Missouri. Annistyn, a third-grader who loved swimming, dancing and bouncing, was among dozens of people killed by the severe storm on Friday, December 10. A tornado hit her home and wreaked havoc. it fell apart less than a week after the family moved out. and, according to relatives who received the photo of the girl in the bathtub, it carried family members for dozens of yards before dropping them off in a muddy field. (Meghan Rackley / Courtesy of Sandra Hooker via AP)

Hooker said that Annistyn Rackley’s family was still unpacked during the December 4 move from Caruthersville to their new home along Highway J, just west of the city. She said she spoke to the girl’s mother, Meghan Rackley, on Friday afternoon about the possibility of bad storms.

Hooker is the sister of Meghan Rackley’s paternal grandmother, and she says that she and Annistyn, or Anni, have become close over the past four years. Annistyn also attended the same elementary school where her mother and Hooker taught.

Hooker said Annistyn’s parents learned when she was 2 months old that she had a rare liver disorder in which the bile ducts don’t develop normally, sometimes making it difficult for her to fight off illness. She said she bonded with Annistyn during her doctor’s visits and blood draws and said the girl loved to paint with chalk on the cement of her parking lot.

But she said Annistyn is still full of energy and happy to dress up and make up for cheerleading competitions and learn new dances from TikTok. She turned and split in front of Hooker.

“I would just gasp because she could do splits all the time, and she would just laugh,” Hooker said. “She loves to dance.”

Her father, Trey Rackley, 37, a trucking company dispatcher, suffered cuts and bruises, still in pain and sometimes in shock, Hooker said. But he and his 3-year-old youngest daughter Alanna – baby Lani – are no longer hospitalized.

Hooker said Meghan Rackley’s injuries included broken bones, a traumatic brain injury and a large cut, and she is asking people to pray for the 32-year-old mother. The middle child, Avalinn, or Ava, suffered a broken back vertebra and is scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday, Hooker said.

After Ava arrived at the hospital in Memphis, Hooker said, she learned from her family there that the young girl told doctors and nurses, “I was flying around in a tornado and I was praying to God Jesus took care of me, and he spit me out.” – and the whirlwind spat me in the mud. “

Hooker said after a Sunday vigil, searchers in a field near the Rackleys home found the doll that Annistyn was holding in the photo. Hooker says this is Annistyn’s favorite and she calls it Baby MawMaw.

“They brought Baby MawMaw to me, and I’m cleaning it up so Ava can have Baby MawMaw,” she said.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/storm-victims-include-missouri-girl-aunts-special-angel/ Hurricane victims include Missouri girl, aunt’s ‘special angel’

Huynh Nguyen

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