Oklahoma tornadoes: 9 confirmed dead after storms

The death toll from Tuesday's tornadoes in Oklahoma is nine. A child has died at a hospital. Searchers are still looking for a 3-year-old boy from Piedmont.
By BRYAN DEAN and JANE GLENN CANNON Modified: May 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm •  Published: May 25, 2011

In Canadian County, family and friends mourned the loss of Cole Hamil, 15 months, even as they continued to search for his missing brother, Ryan, 3. Their mother, Catherine, huddled with the two boys and their older sister, Cathleen, in a bathtub as the storm hit their home near Waterloo Road and N County Line.

Both Catherine and Cathleen remained hospitalized Wednesday. The family has set up a Facebook page asking people to pray that Ryan Hamil is found safe.

Piedmont Mayor Valerie Thomerson said searchers have not given up hope.

“Right now we're focusing on a search and rescue effort for a very frightened but a very much alive young man,” she said.

Identifying bodies

a challenge

Identifying the bodies of the three motorists found near I-40 is proving difficult because the victims, who were thrown from their vehicles, did not have identifying information, Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said.

“It will be like putting pieces of a puzzle together,” Edwards said.

A dozen or more vehicles in the area were flipped and tossed from the highway, Edwards said. Several cars were shredded, and car parts littered the highway.

Officials are also trying to identify a teenage girl who was found dead near State Highway 66 and Courtney Road, Edwards said. The girl was traveling with two others, a male and a female, who were taken to nearby medical centers, Edwards said.

The 22-year-old man later died from injuries, Edwards said.

Authorities have not released the names of a 63-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman who were killed near Cashion, nor the circumstances of their deaths.

State of emergency

Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency Wednesday for almost the entire state after tornadoes, severe storms, straight line winds and flooding caused widespread damage.

Fallin's emergency declaration covers 68 of the state's 77 counties. Fallin said tornadoes caused damage in at least 14 counties.

“We're still analyzing how many communities were hit,” Fallin said after taking an aerial tour over much of the damage.

Fallin said she received a phone call Wednesday from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano who expressed her condolences for those killed and injured by the tornadoes and offered federal support.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said the state's price-gouging statute is in effect for the 68 counties in the governor's emergency declaration. The law prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services when a state of emergency has been declared.

Contributing: Staff Writers Darla Slipke, Michael McNutt, Randy Ellis and Robert Medley

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