Parents share heartbreak after losing daughter in 2019 tornado

Updated: Mar. 3, 2020 at 6:08 AM CST
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LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Providence Baptist Church in Lee County will break ground on a memorial Tuesday to honor the 23 people who lost their lives on March 3, 2019.

Four of those victims were children and one of those children was Taylor Thornton. We spoke with her parents about their heartbreak and how they are moving forward with their daughter.

"She was a perfect little girl, she really was."

Ashley and David Thornton can't believe they've been without their daughter Taylor for a year.

“Not seeing her beautiful smile not hearing her voice not getting hugs and kisses from her. Her not getting to hold her little brother," Ashley Thornton said.

Taylor had been camping with her best friend Kayla the weekend of the storm. The group had just returned to Kayla’s house before the tornado hit. Kayla was the only survivor. Her father, his fiancé, and her best friend Taylor all died.

Ashley remembers the final moments she shared with her daughter.

"She was so excited about going camping with Kayla and her Uncle Lynn, and just to have a good time with her best friend. I gave her a big hug and kiss and told her bye and that we'd see her Sunday."

The family is now trying to focus on Taylor's life and what she meant to so many. The 10-year-old, known as Sweet Taylor to many, was loved by everyone she met.

“I think she was a little angel walking on Earth," Ashley Thornton said.

“She was one of the best kids you could ever really,” David Thornton said. “She never caused trouble. It was easy, it made our job as parents easy.”

The last year has been hard for the Thorntons as they've celebrated Taylor’s birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas without her. They say they’re holding on to every memory they were able to share with Taylor.

"There's not a moment goes by we…we just randomly pipe up to each other man I miss Taylor…man, you remember when she would do this?” David Thornton said. “How funny she was. Looking at her brother how they look a lot like now. It's just every in everything we do."

The Thorntons are also leaning on their neighbors. David recently wrote a post on Facebook thanking the community for their support over the last year saying, that kindness has given them the strength to keep pressing on.

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