Baby dropped in field by tornado buried in Indiana

Monday, March 5, 2012 | 5:30 p.m. CST; updated 6:28 p.m. CST, Monday, March 5, 2012

SALEM, Ind. — A 15-month-old Indiana girl who clung to life for two days after being scooped up by a tornado that killed her parents and two siblings was buried Monday in a snow-covered cemetery, a poignant end to what had seemed to be a miracle story of survival.

An American flag hung at half-staff as relatives of Angel Babcock gathered for the private burial. Angel, her mother and her 2-month-old sister were buried in one casket. Her father and 2-year-old brother were in another.

The little girl died Sunday at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., after suffering severe head injuries when a tornado struck her family's home in New Pekin, Ind., and swept her into the field. Her death is one of 40 from the tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and South on Friday.

The miracle survivor amid widespread devastation wrought by the storms, Angel captivated the world with her fight to live. Though found critically injured, she was opening her eyes when she arrived at the hospital in Kentucky, which workers said was a hopeful sign.

But her condition deteriorated Saturday as her brain swelled, chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel said. As the day went on, Angel's eyes stopped moving, and there was no sign of brain activity. Her grandmother said the family decided to take her off life support, after hospital workers said there was nothing else they could do.

"I had my arm around her when she took her last breath," her grandmother, Kathy Babcock, told ABC News. "I sang to her 'Itsy-bitsy spider.'"

Angel's family had already been reeling from the loss of her grandmother and great-uncle last year, and her death, along with her parents and siblings, was a fresh blow, said Natasha Brooks, of Salem.

"It's so much for one family," Brooks said after a memorial service at the Pentecostal church the Babcock family attended.

The family was buried in two caskets in the pauper section at Crown Hill Cemetery in Salem, police Maj. Scott Ratts said.

At least two banks set up funds to benefit the Babcock family, and Ratts said contributions have come in from all over the country.

"This family had been suffering with the bad economy, and now with the storms ... I mean, they have five burials in one day," Ratts said.

Mourners laughed and cried during the standing-room-only memorial service, as they shared stories of the family, including one about how Angel's mother, Moriah Brough, announced her third pregnancy to her pastor.

"She was in the van with the preacher. She was afraid to tell him, so she texted him," said Tammy Goss, of Salem.

Brough's aunt appealed for the community to start building public tornado shelters, said Goss's husband, Brian.

The National Weather Service in Louisville, Ky., said Monday that the tornado that killed the family built to wind speeds of 170 mph as it traveled toward New Pekin on its 18.5-mile march across Washington County.

It was among an estimated 30 tornadoes packing winds of more than 110 mph that hit the Midwest and South on Friday, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

Associated Press writer Ken Kusmer in Indianapolis contributed to this story.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.