BOWLING GREEN, KY. (WKRN) – The death toll in Bowling Green now sits at 17. Law enforcement officials say the search for more victims is over after they recovered the last body Thursday morning.
Thirteen-year-old Nyssa Brown had been missing since Saturday after an EF-3 tornado ripped through Western Kentucky. The tragic storm didn’t just end her young life, but her entire immediate family’s as well.
Thursday, Bowling Green police made the official announcement in a conference room at the police department.
“It’s all I can do at this moment to hold it back,” said Officer Ronnie Ward, the department’s public information officer.
Brown’s body was found in a dense thicket near the intersection of Moss Creek and Moss View streets.
“What makes this even more tragic is that Nyssa is the final member of the Brown family to be located,” Ward explained. “Her mother, her father, her three siblings and her grandmother also perished in this terrible storm.”
City and volunteer search crews spent five days looking for the family of seven. Their bodies were found in various locations around the neighborhood.
News 2 cameras were there as officers huddled together in prayer after finding Nyssa’s remains.
“I’m really at a loss of words to explain everything. It’s been so tragic,” said Angie Rae Acker, who lives in the Moss Creek neighborhood.
Acker wasn’t home when the storm went through the neighborhood, but her home was destroyed.
“It was just a mess. I don’t really think anybody knew where to start at first,” said Acker.
Acker tells News 2, 4-year old Nyles Brown, the youngest of the family, was found inside her home.
“I think that’s what I’m dealing with most,” said Acker. “The whole time I was over there, he was under and in my kitchen. And…..it’s just traumatizing.”
Acker says Thursday’s discovery added a heavy layer of grief that is difficult to describe.
“It’s hard,” said Acker. “Today is Nyles’ birthday. And, the sister that everybody of course knows about that they were searching for was found today…on his birthday.”
Police say they are now transitioning their work from search and rescue efforts to restoration.