An 8-year-old boy and his mother were killed Tuesday night when their Louisiana home was destroyed by one of several tornadoes spawned in a massive storm system that was plowing east.
The pair was reported missing Tuesday after a tornado touched down near their home in a rural area of northwest Louisiana, according to a Facebook post by the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. Photos posted by the sheriff’s office show huge piles of downed trees and remnants of structures scattered across the ground.
The boy, Nikolus Little, was found dead in a wooded area about half a mile from their home, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator told local outlet KSLA. And just before 2:30 a.m., his mother, Yoshiko Smith, was found dead under debris one street over from their house.
“It’s really a sad, sad situation,” Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said. “And it’s one of the most unusual things I have ever seen.”
The father of the family had left to buy groceries before the tornado touched down, NPR reported. Afterward, nothing remained of their home but a concrete slab.
“He just went to go shopping for his family, came home and the house was gone,” said Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Sgt. Casey Jones.
The Louisiana Department of Health tweeted that the boy and his mother died from “blunt force trauma.”
Drone video shared on social media shows debris from the area homes whirling through the air on the tornado’s winds.
The storm also generated three tornadoes in a two-hour period near New Orleans on Wednesday, one of which took the life of a 56-year-old woman, CNN reported.
Beginning early this week, the huge storm brought blizzard-like conditions to much of the central U.S. in the South, brought thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes, NPR reported. It is continuing east, expected to bring heavy ice and snow across New England and parts of the Mid-Atlantic, CNN reported.