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Ruth Bennett died clutching the last child left at her day care center as a tornado wiped the building off its foundation. A firefighter who came upon the body gently pulled the toddler from her arms.
“It makes you just take a breath now,” said next-door neighbor Kenneth Billingsley, who witnessed the scene at what was left of Ruth’s Child Care Center in this logging town of 6,600. “It makes you pay attention to life.”
Bennett, 53, was among more than 33 people killed in a two-day outbreak of twisters and other violent weather that pulverized homes in half a dozen states from Iowa to Tennessee. The child’s fate was not immediately known.
MEMA officials just upgraded the death toll to 12 broken down in the following areas:
• Nine in Winston County
• One in Rankin County
• One in Issaquena County
• One in Lee County