I got a text late last night from a source saying there’s a six month old baby girl at a hospital in Springfield, Missouri and no one knows who she belongs to. Was it true, and if so, was the unidentified baby from the Joplin storms an hour away? How did she get there? Where are her parents? Are they looking for her? Are they among the dead?
The news spread on Facebook like the EF-5 force winds in Joplin. I called Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Media relations coordinator Stacy Fender told me she had also heard about it, but assured me, “There are no unidentified babies at the hospital.” I realize hospitals have to follow HIPPA laws (Health Information Privacy Protection Act). But I see no reason it wouldn’t tell the media the truth in this case. So the unidentified baby story isn’t true. It’s a rumor at best, a cruel hoax at worst.
So many people are looking for a little hope out of this disaster. The death toll has risen to 132, the number of missing or unaccounted for is falling, but still well over 100 (156 as of Friday morning). A FB page dedicated to the missing is filled with pleas for help in finding friends and loved ones. Here are a few of the posts:
- “Help FIND Thomas Sarino… If anyone has ANY information please post so we may help locate him. He lived alone and has no family in the US” (Misty Marie Abney)
- “Looking for my Aunt Sandy Bowmen” (Melissa Turner)
- “I am looking for Rose (Rosie) Hoffman 2421 Empire… She lived alone and we are very worried about her.” (Catherine Williams)
- “Looking for information on Ken Hosp please” (posting many times by Regina Phalange)
- “looking for this man (shows picture). his name is Gregan Sweet. Last seen in the cooler at the pizza hut on range-line.” (Kayla Kent)
- ”Patrick (Pat) Edwards has been found! Thank the Lord!” (Casey Danielle)
- “I have located my grandson Michael Dunham and grandmother Janice Bailey (Charissa Tatara Dunham)
The Missouri Department of Public Safety has released a list of people from Joplin who are currently unaccounted for. The list will be updated daily. The first name on the list has been found. 75-year-old Sally Adams told The Associated Press Thursday, “Get me off of there!” The AP found Adams “sitting in a wooden chair outside the wreckage of her home, cuddling her cat.”