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Toddler Found Alone In Field 10 Miles From Home After Violent Storms Dies

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Brothers Carl Genton, left, and Randall Genton search for their belongings in a building that collapsed in yesterday's tornado March 3, 2012 in Henryville, Ind. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Brothers Carl Genton, left, and Randall Genton search for their belongings in a building that collapsed in yesterday’s tornado March 3, 2012 in Henryville, Ind. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS (CBS/AP)—The 15-month-old girl who was found alive in an Indiana field 10 miles from her home after violent storms ripped through the Midwest has died from traumatic brain injuries.

Angel Babcock of New Pekin, Ind., was found after her family’s mobile home was destroyed in the storms that ravaged the Midwest and South.

She had been in critical condition at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel made the announcement about her death.

Her grandfather, Jack Brough, had told the Courier-Journal of Louisville earlier that she had suffered head injuries and that the weekend was a critical time for her.

The girl’s death brings the overall toll from the storms to 39 across five states.

She had been in critical condition at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Chief nursing officer Cis Gruebbel made the announcement about her death.

Her grandfather, Jack Brough, had told the Courier-Journal of Louisville earlier that she had suffered head injuries and that the weekend was a critical time for her.

The girl’s death brings the overall toll from the storms to 39 across five states.

Massive thunderstorms, predicted by forecasters for days, threw off dozens of tornadoes as they raced Friday from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Twisters crushed blocks of homes, knocked out cellphones and landlines, ripped power lines from broken poles and tossed cars, school buses and tractor-trailers onto roads made impassable by debris.

In Kentucky, at least 21 people were killed from the devastating tornadoes. In Indiana, authorities searched dark county roads connecting rural communities that officials said “are completely gone.”

In Henryville, the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders, volunteers pushed shopping carts full of water and food down littered streets, handing supplies to anyone in need. Hundreds of firefighters and police zipped around town, where few recognizable structures remained; all of Henryville’s schools were destroyed. Wind had blown out the windows of the Henryville Community Presbyterian Church and gutted the building.

“It’s all gone,” said Andy Bell, who was guarding a friend’s demolished service garage, not far from where a school bus stuck out from the side of a restaurant and a parking lot where a small classroom chair jutted from a car window.

“It was beautiful,” he said, looking around at the town of about 2,000 north of Louisville, Ky. “And now it’s just gone. I mean, gone.”

Susie Renner, 54, said she saw two tornadoes barreling down on Henryville within minutes of each other. The first was brown from being filled with debris; the second was black.

“I’m a storm chaser,” Renner said, “and I have never been this frightened before.”

Friday’s tornado outbreak came two days after an earlier round of storms killed 13 people in the Midwest and South, and forecasters at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center had said the day would be one of a handful this year that warranted its highest risk level. By 10 p.m., the weather service had issued 269 tornado warnings. Only 189 warnings were issued in all of February.

“We knew this was coming. We were watching the weather like everyone else,” said Clark County, Ind., Sheriff Danny Rodden. “This was the worst case scenario. There’s no way you can prepare for something like this.”

Thirteen people were reported killed in Indiana, including four in Chelsea, where a man, woman and their 4-year-old great-grandchild died in one house. Tony Williams, owner of the Chelsea General Store, said the child and mother were huddled in a basement when the storm hit and sucked the 4-year-old out her hands. The mother survived, but her 70-year-old grandparents were upstairs; both died.

“They found them in the field, back behind the house,” Williams said.

Two people died further north in Holton, where it appeared a tornado cut a diagonal swath down the town’s tiny main drag, demolishing a cinderblock gas station but leaving a tiny white church intact down the road.

“We are going to continue to hit every county road that we know of that there are homes on and search those homes,” said Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin. “We have whole communities and whole neighborhoods that are completely gone. We’ve had a terrible, terrible tragedy here.”

The death toll rose to at least 14 in Kentucky, where National Guard troops and Kentucky State Police troopers were dispatched along with a rescue team to counties east and south of Lexington.

In West Liberty, Ky., Stephen Burton heard the twister coming and pulled his 23-year-old daughter to safety, just before the tornado destroyed the second story of the family’s home.

“I held onto her and made it to the center of the house, next to a closet,” Burton said. “I just held onto her, and I felt like I was getting sand-blasted on my back.”

Endre Samu, public affairs officer for the Kentucky State Police in Morehead, said three people died in West Liberty and at least 75 were injured. With the hospital damaged in the storm, some patients were being transferred to area hospitals, he said.

“All of the downtown area was just devastated,” Samu said.

Tornadoes were reported in at least six Ohio cities and towns, including the village of Moscow, where a council member found dead in her home was one of at least three people killed in the state. Several dozen homes were damaged, some stripped down to their foundations, and the Clermont County commissioners called a state of emergency for the first time in 15 years.

One person was reported dead Saturday in Alabama. Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Yasamie August said an apparent tornado that hit Jackson Gap injured two others as well. She didn’t have more details.

Emergency officials in Lee County, Va., said damage from a possible tornado left a two- to three-mile path of destruction that may reach far into Tennessee, and damage reports were expected to increase with daylight.

“We don’t know. We can’t get down there,” Emergency Management Director Jason Crabtree said of areas stretching south of the Virginia line. “This thing may be eight to 10 miles long.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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