Pictured: 10-Year-Old Girl Among 23 People Killed by Tornadoes

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 5, 2019US News
Pictured: 10-Year-Old Girl Among 23 People Killed by Tornadoes
Taylor Thornton, 10, left, was identified as one of 23 people killed by tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia on March 3, 2019. On the right, Beauregard High School teachers Julie Howard (L) and Michelle Johnson (R) console each other outside the school gymnasium as they prepare to attend a prayer circle at the school for those who lost their lives in a tornado the day before, in Beauregard, Ala., on March 4, 2019. (Tornado Victim, Taylor Thornton Funeral Costs/GoFundMe; Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

A 10-year-old Alabama girl has been identified as one of 23 people killed by tornadoes that ripped through the state and Georgia on March 3.

Taylor Thornton of Beauregard was identified as one of the victims as search-and-rescuers resumed the search for the dead and missing on March 5.

Kaitlyn Willing, a family friend, said Taylor’s parents, Ashley and David Thornton, are mourning the loss.

“Words don’t even come close to imagining the pain they are enduring. Taylor was an amazing example of a child of God. She brought so much joy to all that knew her. She was loved dearly and will forever be missed,” she wrote on a GoFundMe fundraising page.

“Our hearts are mourning with you Ashley and David. You raised an amazing daughter that fulfilled her purpose on this earth and it now with her creator. This community loves you both, and baby McCrae so much and will continue to walk through this by your side.”

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Taylor Thornton, 10, was identified as one of 23 people killed by tornadoes in Alabama and Georgia on March 3, 2019. (Tornado Victim, Taylor Thornton Funeral Costs/GoFundMe)

Ashley Thornton told NBC that her daughter was a “God-filled young lady” and a “wonderful big sister.”

Taylor was spending the night with her best friend, camping, in the path of the tornado, her parents said.

Initially, her parents weren’t worried because the storm didn’t seem too bad around their house, but when they couldn’t get through to Taylor, David Thornton took off to look for his daughter. He reached a roadblock and witnessed the devastation.

Parents of 10-year-old Alabama tornado victim speak out

The parents of 10-year-old #AlabamaTornado victim Taylor Thornton speak out to Lester Holt.

Nai-post ni NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt noong Lunes, Marso 4, 2019

“I don’t know how anyone could make it through that,” he said. Taylor’s friend survived but the father of the friend did not.

“She was perfect. She didn’t cause any problems. She was the air in my lungs,” said David Thornton.

Ashley Thornton said faith, friends, and family are helping them get through the crisis.

Another victim was identified as Armando Hernandez, 6, also of Beauregard.

people sift through debris
Ashley Griggs (R) helps Joey Roush (L) sift through what’s left of his mother’s home after it was destroyed by a tornado in Beauregard, Ala., on March 4, 2019. (David Goldman/AP Photo)
drone footage of tornado damage
Damage caused by a powerful tornado in Beauregard, AL., on March 4, 2019. (Dronebase via AP)

He was separated from his mother when the tornado struck and was later found dead.

His mother, Kayla Melton, appealed for help before he was found, writing on Facebook: “Please look for my baby he’s 6 years old his name is Armando Hernandez he goes by AJ last seen on lee road 38. Anyone in the area please help me find him please!”

Tina Melton, a relative, later wrote on Facebook: “‘Little AJ didn’t make it. He was found but he didn’t survive… He was always eager to give hugs and loved his family. They are headed to the children’s hospital with his brother. They also lost their home in the tornado with all belongings. Fly high AJ. You have your wings!”

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Armando “AJ” Hernandez in a file photo. (Helping Kayla Melton/GoFundMe)

A GoFundMe fundraiser was launched to raise money for Armando’s funeral.

According to family friend Corinthina Hawthorne, Melton’s other son and her boyfriend were rushed to the hospital with injuries inflicted during the storm.

In addition to losing Armando, Melton also lost her son, Hawthorne said.

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