A family went missing during a flood in Palestine, Texas. After rescuers came to evacuate the neighborhood, residents noticed that one family wasn’t present.
On Saturday, a grandmother and her four grandchildren were in their Palestine home. The area flooded, but the family wasn’t able to reach safety. The water in the neighborhood rose to roof-level. According to WSFA-12 News, the family went missing on the 100 block of Timber Drive. The source states as follows.
“Members of the Palestine Fire Department and Palestine Public Works employees responded to the area with fire trucks and dump trucks, trying to evacuate residents affected by the flooding.”
“Officers say they received additional calls around 3:45 a.m., stating that a family was missing from the neighborhood. When police arrived, they searched the neighborhood, in waist deep water. First responders and residents attempted to locate a woman and her four grandchildren.”
CBS-News reports that Captain James Muniz noted that the flood waters forced several residents onto their rooftops. Over seven inches of rain fell in the city in less than an hour.
“The water came down the hill. The street was full of mud, so the water just came up. With the enormous amount of rain we had, we had people tell us that within minutes, the water was waist deep.”
Water rose to the rooftops in Palestine (TX) after 7.5 inches of rain fell overnight. pic.twitter.com/b9OV4aoagT— Brian New (@BrianNewCBS) April 30, 2016
Around 12:15 a.m., the family was found at the house. Police authorities mentioned that they discovered two children’s bodies in the front yard of the family’s residence. The source says that the flood waters also swept three more bodies into the back of the housing area. There, authorities found the grandmother and two more children’s bodies.
The victims were identified by another family member. Their names are as follows:
- Lenda Asberry, 64
- Venetia Asberry, 9
- Devonte Asberry, 8
- Von Anthony Johnson Jr., 7
- Jamonicka Johnson, 6
The source adds that the bodies were taken to Tyler to undergo autopsies, which will be completed on Monday, May 2.
Merta White mentioned that she saw a bump in the water, what she thought to be a mailbox. However, once she realized it wasn’t, she screamed at the sight of the floating bodies. Another neighbor, Marion Stevens, stated that they got the water low enough to search around, chest-deep. However, they still couldn’t find anyone. Yet, when the water totally receded, he mentioned, “that’s when we started finding the bodies.”
According to the source, “six to eight” more families were also reported missing. The CBS source mentions that many had to be removed from their rooftops by heavy equipment. Mayor Bob Herrington mentioned that it was a sad day for Palestine. He stated as follows.
“It is a sad day for our city and our condolences go out to the families of the victims. Despite the tragedy, I’m reminded of the wonderful community in which we live. The outpouring of concern and offers to volunteer or to help with donations is increasing by the minute.”
ABC-News states that the mayor also noted that it was the worst event he’s experienced in Palestine in his 59 years of living there. While he also mentioned that there was no way to fully know the extent of the city’s damage at the moment, he does state that they’re pulling together resources.
The source mentions that the city is now doing recovery efforts and clean up. Palestine is approximately 100 miles southeast of Dallas and 150 miles north of Houston, Texas.
All in all, what do you feel about the grandmother and grandchildren? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Photo by David J. Phillip/AP Images]