PIEDMONT — Family members joined emergency responders Wednesday in the search for Ryan Hamil, a 3-year-old boy missing after a tornado demolished his home, killed his brother and injured his mother and sister. They were all apparently trying to shelter in a bathtub when the twister hit.
Piedmont's mayor also announced Wednesday night that the search for Ryan has widened, to include Kingfisher and Logan counties, as well as Canadian County.
Ryan's 15-month-old brother, Cole, died in the hospital after the tornado Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner said. The mother, Catherine Hamil, 36, was listed in fair condition Wednesday at OU Medical Center.
Her 5-year-old daughter, Cathleen, was hospitalized in critical condition.
Amber Bickley, a cousin of Catherine Hamil, said she and her husband, Colby, were among numerous relatives helping in the search at Falcon Lake in Piedmont.
Standard tornado advice is to shelter in an interior room, such as a bathroom.
Bickley was told Hamil followed this advice by getting in the tub with her children, but the house blew apart around them. “It's completely leveled,” Bickley said.
Catherine Hamil's husband, Hank Hamil, operates a custom harvesting business and Catherine is a stay-at-home mom, Bickley said. Hank Hamil was not at home when the tornado hit.
The Rev. Carlos Casavantes, pastor at St. Damien of Molokai Catholic Church of Edmond, where the Hamils attend church, said he visited briefly with some relatives at the hospital. Catherine Hamil's mother took one of the sons to church Sunday and he was given a blessing.
Casavantes spoke with Catherine Hamil before she went into surgery Wednesday morning. “She, of course, was distressed ... and undergoing surgery, and worried for her husband,” he said.