At least 19 people have died in flooding and tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas since the start of the Memorial Day weekend. A look at the lives of some of the victims:
MICHELLE CAREY CHARBA
The 43-year-old Corpus Christi woman was in a vacation house along the Blanco River with family and friends when the entire structure was swept from its foundation early Sunday. It was carried down the swollen river before crashing a bridge and breaking apart. Her body was found Wednesday.
Still missing are her husband, their 4-year-old son, her parents, Ralph and Sue Carey, and three others who were inside the home. “I think we all know deep-down that the amount of time that has passed does not bode well for a positive outcome,” said Christine Cone, a Corpus Christi attorney who knows the Careys. “But, it is extremely difficult to give up hope for a family who was always so vibrant and full of life.”
Alyssa Ramirez was returning home from her high school prom Saturday night when her car was swept away by floodwaters in the small town of Devine southwest of San Antonio.
While stuck in the high water, she called 911 and her father. Her father tried to reach her, but by the time he arrived, the car had overturned and been carried off.
Alyssa Ramirez’s aunt, Roberta Ramirez, described her niece as a “fun-loving, caring” young woman who was “centered.” At her school, she was the student council president and homecoming queen. She also played volleyball and tennis and was a youth leader at her church. She had hoped to study optometry at the San Antonio campus of the University of Texas.
Relatives said Damien Blade enjoyed exploring the culverts and storm drains of his neighborhood in Desoto, Texas. And that’s where the bodies of the 14-year-old and one his dogs were found Monday.
Police said both Damien and the dog apparently drowned in the floodwaters. Damien’s family reported him missing late Sunday after one of his two dogs showed up at the house alone, wet and extremely muddy.
Sandra Swinney had moved to the Oklahoma community of Blue only a couple of months ago and had just celebrated her 48th birthday in the town of about 200 people. On Monday, she was killed when a tornado destroyed the mobile home she was in. The same twister uprooted dozens of trees, some of which were thrown through structures and ripped the roof off of other houses.
Jason Farley, a 44-year-old captain in the fire department in Claremore, Oklahoma, died Saturday night while attempting a water rescue during flash flooding.
Farley stepped into a ditch and was swept into a drainage pipe. Other firefighters jumped into the ditch to rescue him, and one of them was also swept into the drainage pipe but survived.
The body of the 20-year fire department veteran was recovered Sunday.
Farley’s wife and teenage daughter were vacationing in Ireland when he was killed and returned late Monday night.
William Lee Gamblin was driving near Hugo, Oklahoma, when his vehicle became disabled in high water, and he walked out to get help. But when he walked back to the vehicle to retrieve personal items, Gamblin stepped into a dip in the road and disappeared beneath the water. His body was recovered Friday morning.
Blaney reported from Lubbock, Texas. Talley reported from Oklahoma City.
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