Tornado aftermath: Searching for answers
Rescue workers, volunteers and home owners sift through wreckage on Monday, May 23, 2011.
May 26th, 2011
10:17 AM ET

Tornado aftermath: Searching for answers

It's one thing to survive the nation's deadliest tornado. It's another to then try to track down your missing loved ones. For Joplin, Missouri, residents, part of the healing process is accounting for all the missing. But many families are frustrated by bureaucratic policies that are hampering their search efforts. Watch as these families try to learn the fate of their relatives and learn how you can help.

Frenzied families search for clues – Joplin’s deadly tornado has left hundreds of residents missing. Surviving family members complain they aren’t getting information quickly. Many have decided to go out on their own to find missing relatives.
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Parents fight to claim son’s body – A Joplin, Missouri, couple is certain a tornado killed its 12-year-old son. But the pair's grief is compounded by the fact they cannot claim his body. The two have tried several times to locate their son’s remains, only to be met with bureaucracy. Watch their heart-wrenching plea to officials.
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Where's Dee Ann Hayward? – Dee Ann Hayward was on her way to pick up food when the tornado hit. Her badly-damaged car was found, but there was no sign of the her. Now, her children are trying to figure out what happened to their mother, searching morgues and even other states.
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Never give up – Michael Hare's 16-year-old son, Lantz, has been missing since the deadly tornado hit Joplin and ripped his body from a car. An emotional Hare says all he wants is closure, and he no longer can wait for authorities to find his son. He's chasing every lead, which has led him across the city and outside the state.
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Filed under: Gotta Watch • Tornadoes • Weather
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Connie


    May 26, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • hmm

      **correction – living victims

      May 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoResident

      Cell phone service went down when the tornado hit, therefore the phones weren't "binging" to any tower.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • LD

      Most of the cell phone towers are either damaged or that would not work...and if you ever run a business or has been in high level would understand, that the over good of the company must continue to run. The President does not have to go sit in Joplin, etc to prove to people like you that he is concerned. That would be counter-productive. As a matter of fact that would pull services away from the recover effort. You can dislike the President...but trying to bring politics into this is pretty sick on your part.

      May 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There will be disasters with or without a President, God is in control, not man and it's time we recognize no man stands above him. Go pray.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee G

      Oh Please! Just as the people who bring politics into this situation, you should not be bringing religion into it, either. This was not an act of "god", it was an act of Mother Nature.

      May 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hmm

    *living victims

    May 26, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. Karla

    Precisely because of all the tech we have today he is able to stay in constant contact.The demands of being President of the greatest nation on earth mean you must be in more than one place at a time. What could he do personally anyway, get on a backhoe? I agree with your questions about heat sensors and you make a good point. This is a community who has suffered a life-altering, once in a lifetime event. As difficult as it is we can't expect perfection in execution of tasks they've never had to do before.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. courtney

    this is so sad.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Deborah

    Leave it to the government's bureaucratic red tape to add misery to the suffering.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rick

    How is it that our country buried Osama Bin Laden, the countries most hated terrorist, in 24 hours out of respect for his religious beliefs but the government is not allowing those families to see and identify their family members for 2 weeks? What is wrong with this picture. This should outrage everyone in this country! This needs to be corrected. I thought maybe things would work out for this disaster, but evidently not, bureaucracy at its finest again.

    May 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • LD

      What two weeks are you talking about? Also, if the cause of death is unknown or not verified and foul play was involved, later everyone will be saying why did the local government not take their time and verify everything. People need to stop looking for blame and controversary in everything. Sometimes things happen and everyone needs to role up their sleeves and help instead of sitting on the sideline and b#$#$thing. First you want gov't out of your life and then when something happens you complained about why the gov't isn't taking care of everything...

      May 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sparki

    Geez, Connie, think about it. If a tornado can tear apart brick buildings, what can it do to human bodies? In every tornado-caused death, there are bodies that are never found because there is no more body to find. (I agree that Pres. Obama ought to be back in the U.S., but he doesn't like messy stuff, so don't expect him to show before his previously scheduled return date.)

    May 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mama G

    I think he's staying away deliberately. If he were to visit there think about the extra cost on the municipalities if he were to visit it would be a huge distraction to them. They need to concentrate on doing their jobs and taking care of their own, not ushering around a politician and his entourage.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. PeterD

    It cost Money to find survivors. America has money to help rest of the world like Libyan Rebel, Pakistani Army, and many more. Joplin is at bottom of the list for this world.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BrianBurner

    Dang LD, Rick's got you riled up. Don't let that troll get to you.

    May 26, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      As far as being a troll Brian, I suggest YOU get back under your bridge, if you don't have anything to add crawl back into your lair.. I am talking about the 2 weeks that the family of the 12 year old was told they will have to wait to id their son. This was reported last night on CNN by Anderson Cooper and John King. My point is that the red tape has to be relaxed. I still do not believe it is appropriate that the families are not being allowed to id bodies in the morgue. I have experienced the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, and the red tape was unbelievable. As for this statement LD, "First you want gov't out of your life and then when something happens you complained about why the gov't isn't taking care of everything..." you don't have a clue about me or anyone else on this page, so my beliefs about government assistance, etc., don't enter into this conversation.

      gov assistance, you don't know what you are talking about LD, so before you say how I don't want the government and then

      May 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rickie

    Being from Springfield Mo. Just moving back here after living in joplin for 5 years. I believe in my heart they are doing the best they can. Yes they have been given unlimited resources but it takes time.How can you let people walk thru a morgue looking
    at body after body. I do beleive those that have been identified and are certain there familys need to be able to have access to there loved ones. I certainly dont have the answers but after thinking about it the past couple of days. I would not want to be the person or persons of making the decissions. I pray for those individuals that have all of the sudden been placed in that situation.Its only my opinion they are doing a good job here.I want to keep everyone in my thoughts and prayers.I also
    want to thank CNN for keeping there News Teams here.

    May 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    This was a tornado of epic proportions. It will take time to find and identify all of the victims who have died.
    It is my hope that most of the missing will be found alive, however slim that hope is.

    These things take time, unfortunately, and the families of those missing must be frantic. I am so, so sorry for them.

    My sympathy and heartfelt condolences to those that this tragedy has affected.

    May 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DM

    Fema has been in the area, actually several states doing a NLE from 5/16-5/20 to prepare for disasters. I don't understand why things seem so chaotic. Also anyone on here that lives in the midwest, please go to youtube and look up "Dutchsinse" and "Metalsays". They both have been predicting these storms 24 to 48 hrs in advance. Please research WEATHER MODIFICATION....Again that is WEATHER MODIFICATION. Dutch is actually from MO. CNN should really try to interview him as he has been interviewed with NBC for Radiation test levels.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Harold Camping

    @connie w t f do you want our president to do, wave his magic wand and get mother nature to stop. d u m b a – $

    May 27, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |