Neighbor found mother, 2 children
John Land, 40, who lives just north of Falcon Lake, was at home when the tornado heavily damaged his house and destroyed homes in the area.
He found Catherine Hamil lying on the foundation of her home about five feet away from an overturned bathtub.
The tornado blew apart the house. Its walls were gone.
Land said he backed up his pickup to the foundation and was preparing to take the mother to the hospital when she told him her three children were missing.
“She was hollering and saying, ‘I've got three kids!' So, I parked and knew we weren't going anywhere,” Land said.
Another man arrived to help him, and they spotted Cathleen lying about 20 yards away.
She had a head injury. About 50 yards from the house, Cole was found amid debris of a destroyed home.
Land said he thought Ryan was in the water at the time, but he couldn't go in because of the debris in it.
“I'm just sorry this happened. I just feel sorry for them,” Land said.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said searchers came from Texas, Kansas, Missouri and across Oklahoma to look for the little boy.
“Oklahoma, as well as the rest of the nation, has suffered a lot of blows this tornado season,” he said.
The end of the search was painful.
“It's a very tragic moment for a lot of people in Oklahoma and across the nation,” West said.
Debra Hamil said the family was grateful for the help from searchers and others.
“We just appreciate everybody so much. This is so hard,” she said.
“I don't know how we can repay everyone.”