Okla. family mourns child killed at school following tornado

(CBS News) MOORE, Okla. -- Monday's devastating Oklahoma tornado ripped apart Plaza Towers Elementary School. We've been hearing stories of teachers who used their bodies to shield students as the roof came crashing down. However, one student from the school couldn't be saved from the destruction.

A photo of Janae Hornsby, who was killed at her school following the tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013.
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"I treasured all my time with her, said Joshua Hornsby said of his daughter Janae. "Any time I got a chance to spend time with her, I was enjoying all of it. with her All of it was special to me."

Hornsby raced to his daughter's school Monday. Janae was a third grader at Plaza Tower Elementary. He got there 10 minutes too late.

"I had to park around the corner from the school," he said. "And when I hit the corner so where I could see the school, the school was gone. My heart just sank."

Yolanda Hornsby was the 9-year-old girl's grandmother, "We were looking everywhere-- everywhere that we thought we could look, where they may have said she may have been taken. We were looking...and trying not to believe the worst," she recalled.

Yolanda Hornsby, the grandmother of Janae Hornsby, said her granddaughter's death is like "taking a piece out of my heart and just like stomping on it."
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At 8:30 Tuesday morning, Joshua Hornsby's phone rang.

"It was the medical examiner and he told me they had my daughter," said Hornsby. "I knew what he meant, but I didn't want to accept it. I kept asking, 'What do you mean she's with you? What is she doing?' That's when he told me she was deceased. That was it."

"It's like taking a piece out of my heart and just like stomping on it ," said Yolanda Hornsby. "And to come to terms with that -- that I won't be able to spend Sunday dinners with her, no more times at church with anymore, all of that stuff that we did together. And the smile."

The family gathered Tuesday at church to console each other over so much loss.

"She is always going to be here in my heart," said Joshua."In my mind, she is always going to be here."

Joshua Hornsby also lost his house in the tornado, but said it is so trivial compared to loss of his oldest child.

  • Mark Strassmann

    Mark Strassmann was named CBS News Transportation correspondent in August 2011. He has been a CBS News correspondent since January 2001, and is based in the Atlanta bureau.

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