Vilonia, Ark. (CBS ATLANTA) — A young victim holed up in his bathroom to take cover from the Apr. 27 tornado moving rapidly toward his house used his final moments to send a final pair of text messages to his mother: “Goodbye mama…It’s heading right for me.”
Jeffrey Hunter, 22, knew the EF-4 tornado was swiftly descending upon his Vilonia, Ark. house and sent out text messages to his mother, Regina Wood, who was 20 miles away from her son as he took shelter in his bathroom, KFTA-TV reports.
“First he said mama, I’m so scared,” Hunter’s mom, Regina Wood, told KFTA. “He knew how bad it was, these say it’s going to be a direct hit,” referencing the tornado updates she was sending him through text.
“I have a text on my phone as the tornado was hitting, “Goodbye mama…”. Followed by, “It’s heading right for me.”
Wood could only try to comfort her son as he took cover in the bathroom.
“I love you jeff you will make it,” she wrote.
A neighbor told KFTA of the chaos and noise that hit the neighborhood as the tornado ripped through the area. Lyman Watkins was forced to crawl from the closet in which he, his wife and five dogs had taken shelter.
“All you could hear was horns going off and people hollering help help,” says Watkins.
Soon after he made his way out of the house to help find others, he found Regina’s son, Jeffrey, lying on the ground unconscious.
Meanwhile, Wood said she had sent repeated messages to her son to see that he was alright. “I kept saying are you okay? Are you okay? Let me know. Let me know,” said Wood.
“No answer,” she recalled.
Hunter, who was a senior at the University of Central Arkansas, was among 15 people in Arkansas killed by the tornadoes.
Wood told KFTA that what comforts her through all the pain is that her son thought to tell his mother goodbye one last time.