Moore tornado victim remains in the hospital

May 20 tornado victim Edith Morales remains in the hospital. She sought shelter at the 7-Eleven that was destroyed in Moore.
by Diana Baldwin Published: July 28, 2013

She has had a rough time, no doubt. She had a tracheotomy to help her breathe. Her vital signs are just now keeping stable. The scars on her head are visible, but healing. Her strawberry red hair is starting to grow back and occasionally she manages to smile.

Something was wrong

Christina Morales knew something was wrong after the tornado passed. She said she tried calling her mother 50 times, but the phone would just ring, then go to voice mail.

She gathered up her brother, Raymond, and her sister, Tiffany, and headed to Moore to find their mother.

Christina Morales parked about a mile away and started to run. She said she ran until she couldn't run any more.

“As I got closer to Fourth (Street), everything was ripped away,” Christina Morales said. “As I turned left, there was nothing. I could see part of the 7-Eleven sign.

“I was so scared,” she said. “Most everything was gone. I knew she was not OK.”

Christina Morales was told everyone pulled from the 7-Eleven was dead. She was asked if she would identify a body.

“I said, ‘No,'” Christina Morales said. “I started feeling nauseous.”

The fire chief then started showing her pictures. First a photo of a pair of boots and then a picture of a pair of jeans. She couldn't tell if they belonged to her mother. She then learned the woman was between 150 and 160 pounds, too heavy for her mother.

“I was told all the survivors were taken to OU or here,” Christina Morales said. “I drove 90 miles an hour down Western Avenue.”

When Christina Morales arrived, she said, her mother's eyes were swollen shut as she talked to her before she was taken to her first surgery.

“I told you I would find you,” Christina Morales said she told her mother. “I will be right here when you wake up. She just shook her head.

“My fear was overwhelming.”

Christina Morales admits she was terrified her mother was going to die. She had lost her father in 2007. She didn't want to be without either of her parents.

“I was so scared,” Christina Morales said. “I didn't sleep for the first three days.”

Edith Morales' home, near May Avenue and 104th, and the self storage where she worked were not damaged.

Morales doesn't have health insurance because she hadn't worked at her new job long enough to be eligible for benefits.

American Red Cross is helping Morales arrange for long-term care once she is ready to leave the hospital.

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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How to help

The Morales family has set up a fund to help with other expenses. To

donate, go to www.gofundme.com/edymorales.

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