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What We Know About the Victims in the Kentucky Flooding

Here is what we know so far about some of the victims.

Nellie Mae Howard, 82

Nellie Mae HowardCredit…

Joe Engle, the sheriff of Perry County, interrupted his search for flood victims over the weekend to bury a loved one of his own in Chavies, Ky. Sheriff Engle, who is a pastor, said that walking by faith, rather than by sight, would be the theme of his sermon because that was how his great-aunt, Nellie Mae Howard, had lived.

During the storm, Ms. Howard sheltered at the home of her daughter, Patricia Collins, according to Angel Campbell, Ms. Collins’s daughter. But at around 1 a.m. on Thursday, Ms. Campbell saw a Facebook post from a cousin saying that the flood had submerged the enclave of homes where her mother lived.

As the hours passed, she learned that her mother had been found and was alive. Her grandmother’s body was discovered Friday morning.

Ms. Campbell said her mother told her that water had rushed into the living room, setting furniture and appliances afloat and eventually washing Ms. Collins and Ms. Howard out of the home. Ms. Collins became wedged up against a neighbor’s home, with loose lumber piled on top of her. It took nearly two hours for neighbors to dig her out, Ms. Campbell said.

When a search party located Ms. Howard’s body, her grandson, Chris Collins, lifted her up, Ms. Campbell said. He checked for a pulse, knowing he would find none, and cleaned the mud from her face. Then, he waited with her for hours until a rescue boat arrived.

Among Ms. Howard’s journals, the family said, were lyrics to a song by the Gaither Vocal Band carefully written in her handwriting: “When my eyes are closed in death with my Jesus I’ll be at rest. Then you’ll know I’m satisfied.”

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