Day care operator died while clutching child

Severe Weather South

LOUISVILLE, Miss. (AP) — The 35 people who’ve been killed in a two-day outbreak of twisters and other violent weather included the operator of a Mississippi day care center — who died while clutching the last child remaining there yesterday as a tornado wiped the building off of its foundation.

A next-door neighbor who witnessed the scene says a firefighter who came across the body of Ruth Bennett gently pulled the toddler from her arms. There’s no word on the fate of the child.

In all, at least nine deaths were reported in and around the town of Louisville (LOO-ihs-vihl), Mississippi from a powerful tornado with a preliminary rating of EF4, which is near the top of the scale.

Rescue workers today have been stepping over downed power lines and trees that were snapped in half.

The violent weather pulverized homes in a half-dozen states from Iowa to Tennessee. It’s been threatening to again bring high winds and pounding rain in the Deep South today.

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