The youngest victim was 6, the oldest 89. One family lost seven members.
The 23 people killed in thein nearly six years came into focus Tuesday when the coroner finished identifying them and released their names. "Just keep those families in your prayers," Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said, two days after the disaster. "It's a tragic situation."
The search for victims in and around the devastated rural community of Beauregard continued, with crews using heavy equipment to lift large chunks of wreckage. But Sheriff Jay Jones said the list of missing people had shrunk from dozens to just seven or eight.
"We are still conducting some searches, sifting through piles of debris where there may be people or animals," said Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather. "We haven't given up hope."
The dead included 53-year-old, whose body was found in a neighbor's yard after the twister demolished his mobile home Sunday afternoon. He was known as "Roaddog" for his love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
"Our son found him," his widow, Carol Dean, said between sobs. "He was done and gone before we got to him. My life is gone. He was the reason I lived, the reason that I got up."
After the tornado passed, she rushed home from work at Walmart and pushed past sheriff's deputies to be with her husband one last time. Picking through the ruins of their home, she found her wedding dress and a Father's Day note to her husband that read, "Daddy, I love you to pieces."
Bobby Kidd described to CBS affiliate WIAT-TV the moments a tornado dragged his grandson, 6-year-old A.J. Hernandez, away from his father. "The house exploded, and the force of the tornado snatched both the kids away from him," Kidd told the station.
Hernandez's brother, 10-year-old Jordan Griffin, was taken to the hospital along with his dad. Both are expected to be OK.
The tornado was an EF4 packing winds estimated at 170 mph and chewed a path of destruction up to nine-tenths of a mile wide in Alabama for nearly 27 miles, the National Weather Service said. Ninety people were injured, it said.
Around Beauregard, an unincorporated area of roughly 10,000 people near the Georgia state line, mobile homes tucked among tall pine trees were swept from their bases and smashed into unrecognizable piles of rubble. Toys, clothes, insulation, water heaters and pieces of metal were scattered across the hillsides where the pines were snapped in half.
Law enforcement teams searching for victims used dogs and heat-detecting drones. It was the deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. since May 2013, when an EF5 twister killed 24 people in Moore, Oklahoma.
Government teams surveying storm damage confirmed Tuesday that at least 18 tornadoes struck on Sunday in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina alone.
Names of Alabama tornado victims as released by the coroner
- Armondo (AJ) Hernandez, 6
- Charlotte Ann Miller, 59
- David Dean, 53
- Emmanuiel Jones, 53
- Eric Jamal Stenson, 38
- Felicia Woodall, 22
- Florel Tate Stenson, 63
- Henry Lewis Stenson, 65
- Irma Gomez-Moran, 41
- James Henry Tate, 86
- Jimmy Lee Jones, 89
- Jonathan Marquez Bowen, 9
- Maggie Delight Robinson, 57
- Mamie Roberts Koon, 68
- Marshall Lynn Grimes, 59
- Mary Louise Jones, 83
- Mykala Waldon, 8
- Raymond Robinson Jr., 63
- Ryan Pence, 22
- Sheila Creech, 59
- Taylor Thornton, 10
- Tresia Robinson, 62
- Vicki Braswell, 69
Editor's note: In an earlier version of this article, the Lee County coroner misstated the age of the oldest victim. The article has been updated with the correct information.
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