Missing Joplin toddler identified at morgue

KANSAS CITY, Mo Thu May 26, 2011 4:02pm EDT

A United States flag tied to a tree branch waves in the wind over a business building destroyed by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, May 24, 2011. REUTERS/Ed Zurga

A United States flag tied to a tree branch waves in the wind over a business building destroyed by a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, May 24, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ed Zurga

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KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - A 16-month-old boy whose fate drew national attention after he was ripped from his mother's arms during the Joplin, Missouri tornado, has been identified at a morgue, his father said on Thursday.

Skyular Logsdon, whose clothes were found wrapped around a telephone pole and his teddy bear on the ground nearby, was identified by a great aunt who knew him well, Cord Logsdon, the boy's father, told Reuters in a phone interview on Thursday.

Cord Logsdon and Skyular's grandfather John Logsdon, were in the process Thursday of going to identify the boy or look at a picture of him. Cord Logsdon, who was injured in the tornado, was released from Mt. Carmel Hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas on Wednesday.

"It's tough," an emotional Cord Logsdon said as he handed the phone over to Skyular's grandfather.

"We're going to hang in there," John Logsdon, the grandfather, said.

The search for the boy and reports of his death have drawn thousands of notes of support and sympathy on a Facebook page.

During the search, his frantic relatives carefully lifted up the wooden beams and twisted metal of what was once his home.

Searchers found the boy's dark blue teddy bear. Then they spotted his red T-shirt and pants, torn, rain-soaked and wrapped around a telephone pole about 200 yards from his house.

Skyular's mother, Carol Jo Tate, remains hospitalized in fair condition in Pittsburg, said hospital spokesman Michael Hayslip. He said a nurse was told by a relative of the boy last night that he had been found in a morgue.

Skyular's parents were both home when the tornado struck. Tate was holding the boy in her arms, said Tate's mother, Missy Burnes. The house was getting torn apart around them, she said.

"She remembers getting her arm broken and things flinging around the house," Burnes told Reuters Thursday. Tate lost hold of the baby and she was thrown unconscious from the house, Burnes said. She thought she saw the baby a few feet away before passing out but is not sure, Burnes said.

At least 125 people are confirmed dead in the Joplin storm and more than 900 were injured at last count. Search crews were still looking for victims in the miles of rubble left by the tornado, which packed winds of 200 miles an hour.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)

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