JOPLIN, Mo. — Rescue workers searched for the living and the dead Wednesday, retracing the six-mile path of the tornado that tore through here three days ago and finding two more victims beneath the rubble.
The grim discoveries, assisted by cadaver dogs, raised the death toll to 125, the single deadliest twister in more than six decades.
Families and friends of the missing expressed frustration with the prolonged process to identify victims.
City Manager Mark Rohr said the names of the dead would be made public “as soon as we can” and that “we’re not going to give up” the search for survivors.
Officials manning a make-shift morgue said they didn’t want any mistaken identities and thus were checking DNA, dental records and even finger prints before releasing the bodies to next of kin.
The Red Cross began compiling a “safe residents” list and urged people to check it regularly.
A 16-month-old baby boy ripped from his mother’s arms by the twister’s 200 mph winds represented the building frustration of families searching for loved ones.
The boy was identified as Skyular Logsdon, who was riding out the tornado with his parents in their home when he disappeared. His mother, Cord Logsdon, 21, and his father, C.J. Tate, 18, were hospitalized in serious condition. The baby was identified Wednesday evening in a temporary morgue.
Milissa Burns, 39, the baby’s grandmother, frantically searched hospitals, shelters and the morgue for the boy, but without success.
“I won’t stop until I find him,” she said. “I’m terrified. I don’t know where to look next.”
Only nine people have been found alive in the millions of tons of rubble. More than 900 were injured, most of them seriously.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took charge of the central morgue set up in a large warehouse. Large generators pumped cool air into the structure.
FEMA also established a claims office at Missouri Southern State College’s athletic center.
“As soon as the neighborhoods are clear, we’ll sgtart going door to door,” said Tom Richards of FEMA. “But we’re not going to get in the way of people saving lives.”
An estimated 8,000 structures, most of them homes, were destroyed by the half-mile wide tornado.
FEMA planned to bring in trailers to temporarily house the displaced.
One of those is Bridgette Titus, 31, a middle school teacher. She has been staying with friends but would likely qualify for a trailer home.
“A trailer?” she said. “Don’t know if I want to live in a trailer considering the tornadoes here.”
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