Siblings band together in search for mom

Five days after a massive tornado leveled Joplin, Mo., the search continues for the missing. The number of confirmed dead has risen to 132, with another 157 still unaccounted for. CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy speaks with a family that refuses to give up.


All the Hayward family can do is wait.

For five days, Robert, Caleb and their 14-year-old sister Christina have been looking for their mom, Dee Ann Hayward. They've been handing out flyers with their missing mom's picture.

It's strange for the children not having her around.

Christina says she misses her mother's laughter.

"She always makes us laugh,'' she said.

Just before the twister tore through Joplin, Dee Ann Hayward went to town to pick up Sunday dinner at Pizza Hut.

"They were going to have a graduation party for my brother, so she went to get pizza and just never came home,'' says Robert Hayward.

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"We were kind of scared,'' said Christina Hayward.

"We were thinking maybe she had to stop and get out of her car and find a shelter or something like that,'' says Robert Hayward.

The kids have not found their mom - but they did find her car, battered with a missing roof and seat headrest. The driver's side seatbelt was still buckled, and a shoe was on the dashboard.

It's possible Dee Ann Hayward was literally sucked right out of her car.

The family has no idea if she is still alive or is one of the many unidentified dead. Local authorities in Joplin won't let people try to identify bodies in person.

Instead, the Haywards have to to submit DNA and dental records and wait.

"They have had long enough. This has been days. They need to let people start bringing their family home," said Dee Ann's sister Patty Penn.

Because you can't start to heal when you don't even know what you've lost.

"We're just gonna stay strong. What else can we do?"

On Friday, authorities defended their process of identifying the dead. They say they need to be 100 percent accurate. In some cases, it could be another two weeks before DNA test results come back.

  • Ben Tracy

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