March 5, 2012 / 12:20 AM / 7 years ago

Toddler found in field after tornado dies of injuries

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - A toddler who was found alive in a field in tornado-ravaged southeastern Indiana after her parents and two siblings were killed when a twister struck their mobile home died on Sunday of her injuries, her family said.

Angel Babcock had been in critical condition in a Kentucky hospital since Friday, when the 15-month-old was found near her family’s destroyed mobile home in New Pekin, Indiana.

“Angel has been reunited with her parents,” her extended family said in a statement released at her grandfather’s request through the hospital where she was being treated.

“We want to thank God for all of you and for your thoughts and prayers. God will bring you and all of us out of this. That is what it will take. All should look to God,” the family said.

Cis Gruebbel, chief nursing officer at Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, said the toddler died in the pediatric intensive care unit from extensive head and neck injuries.

“The family made the most difficult decision of their life this afternoon to remove life support,” Gruebbel said, adding that the toddler had surgery Friday night to relieve swelling on her brain. But her brain continued to swell, she said, and “there was nothing else medically we could do.”

On Sunday, extended family members had kept a vigil at the girls’ Louisville bedside, where Angel had been in critical condition since she was airlifted there on Friday. Gruebbel said some family members were with Angel when she died a few minutes life support was removed.

Her death brings Indiana’s death toll to 13 from Friday’s tornadoes that killed 39 people across the U.S. Midwest and Southeast. Gruebbel gave the girl’s age as 15 months. Previous reports had put her at between 14 months and two years old.

Officials had originally reported that Angel had been found 10 miles away from her home, but a spokeswoman for the St. Vincent Salem Hospital where she was initially taken later said she was found close to her home.

Angel’s family were the only people killed in Washington County, one of the hardest hit areas, Indiana officials said.

The Louisville Courier-Journal identified them as her parents Joseph Babcock, 21, and Moriah Brough, 20; and her siblings, Jaydon Babcock, also a toddler, and 2-month-old Kendall Babcock.

Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg and Karen Brooks; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Bohan

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