Ajudge. A school board member. A deputy directing inmates to safety. Toddlers. Infants.
A system of tornadoes claimed at least 77 lives when it tore through Western Kentucky over the weekend, leaving destruction, despair and grief in its wake. Friends, family and strangers alike are organizing relief funds and memorials to honor those lost.
Officials are sharing the names of those killed in the storms that began last Friday night and stretched into Saturday morning. The full depth of the impact of the tornadoes is expected to come into focus as search and rescue efforts continued in different parts of the state.
Here’s what we know about who died in the storms.
Nyssa, Niles, Nolynn, Nariah, Steven and Rachel Brown; Victoria Smith
Of Bowling Green
Seven members of the Brown family died in the tornado that hit Bowling Green.
13-year-old Nyssa Brown was found Thursday near the subdivision where she lived with her family. Other members of her family were found dead, including her parents, Steven and Rachel Brown (though her name on social media is listed as “Rachael”), 35 and 36, respectively; her siblings Nariah Brown, 16, Nyles Brown, 4, and Nolynn Brown, whose age is not immediately known; and her grandmother, Victoria Smith, 64.
The family lived on a street where 12 people died, including five relatives from another family and eight children. Neighbors who survived are grief-stricken — surrounded by ruins that include children’s toys.
Timothy Venetta remembers Nyssa Brown as a little girl who used to ride her four-wheeler through his backyard.
“I can’t imagine a whole family just being gone in the blink of an eye,” Jennifer Venetta told WZTV in Nashville, Tennessee. She and Timothy Venetta lived on the same street as the Brown family, according to the station.
Rochelle Finkton said her sister, Rachel Brown, enjoyed being a mother.
“I mean, she loved them kids to the moon,” Finkton told WSMV-TV in Nashville.
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