Cora Jones spent her entire day Tuesday at a Lee County, Alabama funeral home, making funeral arrangements for her mother, father, and brother.
Jones, who lives a few miles away from her parent’s home, said her mother Mary Jones, 83, her father, James ‘Jimmie’ Jones, 89, her brother Emmaniel Jones, and her brother Benjamin Jones were at home Sunday afternoon in Beauregard, Alabama. Her parents had just returned home from Sunday church services.
Cora Jones says she was at her home cooking for her mother. “I was cooking my mom's favorite dinner, butter beans, sweet potatoes and okra to take over there,” Jones told CBS46’s Hayley Mason Tuesday night on a phone call. Jones said she was on the phone with her brother Emmaniel, who indicated the weather was getting bad. She told her brother to turn on the NOAA radio she’d bought.
She said her mother was sitting in the living room. Her father was sitting in his chair.
“Emmaniel had just plugged in NOAA radio I got him,” Cora Jones told Mason. “And, he said ‘it’s coming.’ That’s the last thing he said.
Jones said she drove to her parent’s home to find the mobile homes in the area completely destroyed.
“I started running and climbing through trees,” Cora Jones said. “I was looking for my mama, and I found my daddy hanging on a tree. I said I've got to find my mother. They [first responders] told me you don't want to see that,” Jones recalled. She described the horrifying details of seeing her family nearly unrecognizable. She says it haunts her.
Jones lost seven family members Sunday: Her mother and father, her brother Emmaniel Jones, her first cousin Maggie Robinson, a cousin James Tate, cousin’s Florel Tate Stenson, and Henry Stenson.
Her cousin Maggie Robinson also lost her first cousin Raymond Robinson Jr and his wife, Teresa Robinson.
Jones' brother Benjamin Jones was listed as missing until Tuesday afternoon when the family found him in a hospital in Columbus, Georgia. Jones told CBS46 that he did not have identification on him and his handwritten phone book was so wet that medical staff could not read the numbers. He is now considered safe.
The Jones' funerals will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church on Huguley Road in Opelika, AL.
Jones said local businesses have been pitching in to help cover the funeral expenses.
There are several families with GoFundMe pages seeking help to cover funeral costs.
Maggie Robinson’s funeral will be held Sunday.
For anyone who wants to volunteer of help victims in Lee County, contact your state Emergency Management Office to register as a volunteer. The Lee County EMA director has also set up volunteer information on their website.