Young mom and five-month-old baby killed at 7-Eleven as they desperately searched for shelter in horror tornado

  • Pastor confirms young mom and her baby are two of the 24 confirmed fatalities
  • Megan Futrell, 29, was trying to find shelter and ended up in a 7-Eleven store, hiding in a freezer, where her body was found still holding her child
  • She leaves a husband, Cody, and a six-year-old son
  • Another man is said to have died at the store which the tornado ripped right through

By Laura Collins In Oklahoma and Lydia Warren

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Relatives of a young mother killed along with her five-month-old child in the 7-Eleven razed by the Oklahoma tornado have told of her desperate final moments.

MailOnline has learned that mother-of-two Megan Futrell was desperately trying to reach her older child when the storm overtook her and she was forced to seek shelter in a futile bid to save herself and her baby.

She hid with her baby in the freezer at the convenience store. And it was there, huddled together, that their bodies were found.

According to tributes online the young mother-of-two had spoken to her husband on the phone moments before the tornado hit.

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Tragedy: A teacher and her five-month-old baby, pictured, were among those killed at a 7-Eleven store in Moore, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in Monday's tornado

Tragedy: Megan Futrell, pictured, and her five-month-old baby were among those killed at a 7-Eleven store in Moore, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in Monday's tornado

Devoted mom: Megan Futrell, pictured at a little league game, was trying to reach her son

Devoted mom: Megan Futrell, pictured at a little league game, was trying to reach her son

 

A cousin said she was a 'beautiful woman, teacher, mother, wife'.

Speaking to MailOnline, Pastor DA Bennett, of St Andrews who has been contacted by the family and asked to make funeral arrangements said: ‘This woman had two children, a six-year-old and a five month child.

‘She was a school teacher and had to be home with her baby. She went to get her baby and found that she couldn’t outrun the storm.’

 

He added: ‘I hope that when people think of her they don’t think that she was reckless or some kind of thrill seeker.

‘She was a mother who loved her baby and wanted to do what she could to protect that child.’

The victim was born in Oklahoma City, confirmed in St Andrews Church and married there too.

Her husband Cody is a shop foreman at UEM, Oklahoma City.

As a member of his parish, Pastor Bennette said, ‘I will do what I can now for her and her child and her family.’

Grieving: A bouquet of flowers was left at the site today Grieving: A bouquet of flowers was left at the site today

Destroyed: A mound of rubble was all that was left of the gas station

Destroyed: A mound of rubble was all that was left of the gas station

Areas of the town, including the Plaza Towers Elementary School (pictured) were leveled by the tornado

Areas of the town, including the Plaza Towers Elementary School (pictured) were leveled by the tornado

The tragedy is the latest to emerge in the wake of the storm that tore through this swathe of the mid-West and claimed the life of 24, nine of them children.

A further 237 were injured and hope of finding victims alive was beginning to wane.

Officials started to search flattened homes and piles of rubble with cadaver dogs.

No survivors were found on Tuesday and officials said they hope to complete three searches of every site of devastation before nightfall.

The weather service confirmed that the powerful storm was for times an EF5 - the maximum on the scale.

Seven children were found drowned at Plaza Towers Elementary School, which was a direct hit during the 45 minutes of terror.

Nine-year-old Janae Hornsby, whose father said 'always has a smile on her face', is one of the victims while family members have shared pictures of other missing children, including Sydney Angle, feared dead.

Frightened third graders were being pulled from the wreckage alive on Monday afternoon as rescue workers passed the children down a human chain before taking them to a triage center set up in the school's parking lot.

Staff said there had been at least 75 people in the school of around 500 students when the tornado hit. The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students were taken from the school to a church before the twister barreled through.

Students who were inside the building described clinging to the walls of the hallway where many of them huddled during the storm as the twister battered the school. Others cowered in closets or bathrooms to protect themselves

Briarwood was the other elementary school flattened in the tornado but all the students miraculously escaped alive.

Tales of heroic teachers throwing themselves over children to save them were reported in both.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, an official confirmed that the two schools did not have safe rooms, as they had not applied for them.

Fatalities: 24 people are confirmed dead - 9 children

Fatalities: 24 people were confirmed dead yesterday including nine children. Shocking images and videos emerged of the tornado which caught many off guard

Destroyed: Piles of precious belongings could be seen on streets destroyed by Monday's tornado

Destroyed: Piles of precious belongings could be seen on streets destroyed by Monday's tornado

Nothing left: For many their entire lives have been wiped out by the storm

Nothing left: For many their entire lives have been wiped out by the storm

He added that the jurisdiction decides where to allocate funds for safe rooms based on past events.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster area in Oklahoma, ordering federal aid to supplement state and local efforts in Moore. Speaking from the White House on Tuesday morning, he said that FEMA staff were on the ground to provide support to residents.

He offered his condolences to the community following 'one of the most destructive storms in history' and promised whatever resources they may require in the coming days and weeks.

House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday that at the request of Rep. Tom Cole, from Moore, he has ordered flags on Capitol Hill to be lowered to half-staff.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin expressed her grief on behalf of her state for the parents of the missing children.

'Our hearts are broken for the parents that are wondering about the state of their children that had been in the schools that have been hit today,' Fallin said. 'I know that there are families wondering where their loved ones are.'

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, officials said they are aiming to complete three searches of all homes by dark.

Rescue teams, including 80 members of the National Guard and search dogs, had reported hearing cries for help from beneath the rubble of the flattened school but the screams reportedly stopped at around 6:30 p.m. local time.

One teacher told Good Morning America that her students had to stay with her for hours until their parents could reach them. Because of the damage to the roads, 'parents walked for miles just to get to their children,' she said. 'They were out of breath and crying but just so happy to see them.'

Many parents have been forced to endure an agonizing wait at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, where they wait for news of their loved ones.

Rescue: Dozens of volunteers came forward to help in the bid to find survivors

Rescue: Dozens of volunteers came forward to help in the bid to find survivors

Counting the cost: Families assessed their property today. Many also received the devastating news their loved ones were among the 24 confirmed dead

Counting the cost: Families assessed their property today. Many also received the devastating news their loved ones were among the 24 confirmed dead

Frantic parents rushed to Plaza Towers Elementary moments after it was pummeled but were kept back so search teams could hear any survivors calling for help through the rubble.

The seven children confirmed dead are believed to have been trapped underneath rubble when they were overcome by water from burst pipes.

The families were later taken to a nearby church where they continued the harrowing wait for news.

On Tuesday morning the death toll was revised down to 24 - from the prior figure of 51, which may have included some double-reported casualties.

Crews used jackhammers and sledgehammers to tear away concrete, and chunks were being thrown to the side as the workers dug.

National Guard choppers were being used across Moore overnight to detect body heat of survivors trapped under collapsed buildings and other rubble so they could direct rescuers.

The comments below have not been moderated.

Such a sad story - but having seen the damage I am amazed there were not even more casualties. Thoughts with all the victims and their families. Devastating

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Holographic Universe; ignorant comment! This area was struck by one of the largest tornados ever recorded in 1999, killing 30+ people. Chances are in timevthey will get hit again, lightening does strike twice.

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This area has never had a major twister before, tornado alley is a hundred miles wide and they can strike anywhere. People on here are complaining that they should have shelters, yes they should, but human nature dictates that until it happens to you people live in denial and always hope it won't. Instead of trying to blame someone for the loss of life remember its an act of nature and most of these people wouldn't have a shelter at home as they didn't see it as a huge risk..May the survivors find strength and peace...RIP brave people.

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Mum*- andy , Everywhere, 22/5/2013 09:13 In USA and in parts of the UK it is Mom. It's how I was taught it in school.

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Heartbreaking!

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A hole in the ground with some steel girders dug into the top of it wouldnt have cost more than a few hours and a few dollars - better than nothing.

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Mum*

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I don't understand why they don't have more underground shelters, especially at the schools and hospitals? Living in such a dangerous area, you would think that everyone would have one.

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So many heartbreaking stories :'( no words :'(

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I hope the Brits are paying close attention to the photos in this story. Those red rectangular objects you see on the ground, in a big old pile? They're bricks. The very things that Brits keep telling us will save us from F5 tornadoes. Maybe you folks should stick to commenting on things you know about, like food stamps medicine and warm beer. Isn't tha the truth!!! Don't forget their NHS...they're leaving the elderly to fend for themselves. When you have winds at 200 mph, not even a brick sh-thouse is going to save you. Thank you to all the lovely people around the world who have sent their condolenes to OKC and the USA. We appreciate your kindness.

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