Tornado Victim Texts Goodbye to Mom

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VILONIA, Ark. (CNN/KARK) – An Arkansas man was killed when a devastating tornado ripped through his neighborhood last week.  But before he died, he took the time to tell his mother goodbye.

“First he said mama, I’m so scared,” said Regina Wood.

Wood said all she could think to do was tell her son Jeffrey Hunter he would be okay.

“He knew how bad it was, he says it’s going to be a direct hit.”

From her home in Beebe 20 miles away from her son in Vilonia, Regina could only update Jeffrey through text on where the April 27 EF4 tornado was headed.

It was going straight toward Jeffrey and he knew it, telling his mom goodbye.

“I have a text on my phone as the tornado was hitting “Goodbye mama… I love you.”

Minutes later, a few homes down from Jeffrey on Clover Ridge Drive, Lyman Watkins had to crawl out from the closet he, his wife and five dogs were hiding in.

“All you could hear was horns going off and people hollering help, help.”

It didn’t take long for Watkins to find someone.

“I made my way, he was at that house right there.”

Lying there unconscious on the ground was Regina’s son.  She hadn’t heard anything from him since his last message.

“I kept saying are you okay? Are you okay?” Watkins said.  “Let me know. Let me know, and no answer.”

Jeffrey Hunter wasn’t the only person killed in his Vilonia neighborhood. There are flags up for each one of the victims.

Despite, however the terror of losing her only son, Regina is comforted in the thought that Jeffrey, in the midst of panic and fright, thought to tell his mom goodbye.

“That was the most precious thing a son can do for a mother,” she said.


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