Tennessee floods tear 7-month-old twins from father’s arms

Aug 24, 2021, 3:06 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm

WAVERLY, Tenn. (AP) — Matthew Rigney and Danielle Hall were sleeping with their four children in the Tennessee apartment they had just moved into two weeks earlier when the flash flooding struck.

“We woke up and water was filling our apartment,” Rigney told WTVF-TV.

The normally shallow and sedate Trace Creek just 20 feet (6 meters) away had overflowed, turned by record-breaking rainfall into a raging torrent.

“We heard a loud boom and it was the door busting in,” Rigney said.

The couple grabbed the children and ran into a back bedroom, but the water kept rising. Hall climbed out a window to go for help, while Rigney clung to the kids: 7-month-old twins Ryan and Rileighana in his arms, 19-month-old Brayla on his hip and 5-year-old Maleah wrapped around his neck.

Once outside, Hall was immediately knocked off her feet by the rushing floodwaters but was able to grab hold of a tree. It was from there that she watched her husband and oldest two kids clamber up onto the roof. To her horror, she did not see the twins.

“Through the trees, I saw him get on the roof, but I didn’t see my babies and I screamed, ‘Please tell me they are alive!'” Hall told the TV station.

But Ryan and Rileighana had been ripped from Rigney’s arms, just seconds after the merciless waters, rising 6 feet (1.8 meters) high in the apartment, had swept him and all four children under, trapping them beneath a bed.

The father and his two older children were ultimately able to escape with the help of a neighbor. Ryan and Rileighana’s lifeless bodies were later found in the apartment after the floodwaters had receded.

“I wish there was something I could have done,” Rigney said, his voice trembling through tears. “I wish I would have just stayed there. I didn’t know if the whole house was about to collapse on us.”

The babies were two of 18 victims claimed by the catastrophic flooding Saturday that destroyed houses, tore up roads and took down cellphone towers and telephone lines in rural Humphreys County. Surviving members of the community have pulled together in their grief, raising money for those who lost everything and to help pay for funerals.

“We never, ever imagined we would be burying babies who are 7 months old,” Hall said, leaning into Rigney’s shoulder as she broke into a sob.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress, at the C...
Associated Press

Transcript: Biden’s second State of the Union address

Transcript of President Joe Biden’s second State of the Union address, as prepared for delivery and as provided by the White House: Mr. Speaker. Madam Vice President. Our First Lady and Second Gentleman. Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Leaders of our military. Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and retired Justices of the Supreme Court. […]
21 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on ...
Associated Press

President Joe Biden in State of Union attempts to reassure condition of nation

President Joe Biden called on Republicans in his State of the Union speech to work with him to “finish the job” of rebuilding the economy.
21 hours ago
FILE - A CSX freight train sits on a siding in downtown Pittsburgh, Nov. 19, 2022. Several thousand...
Associated Press

In a first, some CSX railroad workers to get paid sick leave

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Several thousand workers at CSX will soon get one of the things that pushed the U.S. railroad industry to the brink of a strike last fall: paid sick time. CSX announced a deal Tuesday with two of its 12 unions, becoming the first major railroad to offer that benefit that most […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Trudeau says Canadian health care isn’t living up to promise

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canada’s health care system isn’t living up to its promise, and he plans to add billions more in funding. Trudeau said wait times in emergency departments have become dangerously long, people are waiting too long for essential surgeries and millions of Canadians are without […]
21 hours ago
Sen. David Parker, R-Olive Branch, presents legislation that would transfer ownership of the water ...
Associated Press

Jackson water system a step closer to getting new owners

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson’s troubled water system could be one step closer to getting new owners after legislation passed the state Senate Tuesday. It’s the latest development in a crisis that has left residents of Mississippi’s capital without consistent access to running water and has aggravated divisions between the Democratic-led city and the Republican-controlled […]
21 hours ago
A shopper enters the Bed Bath and Beyond store in Coral Springs, Fla., on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. T...
Associated Press

Struggling Bed Bath & Beyond closing 150 more stores

NEW YORK (AP) — Bed Bath & Beyond said Tuesday it will be shuttering 150 more stores as the beleaguered home goods chain cuts costs as it works to stay afloat. The announcement came after the company based in Union, New Jersey, said it had raised about $1 billion through offerings of preferred stock and […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Tennessee floods tear 7-month-old twins from father’s arms