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Posted: October 11, 2018

Hurricane Michael: Georgia father struggles after 11-year-old daughter dies

A vehicle is smashed under a fallen tree when Hurricane Michael whipped through Georgia on Wednesday. One person was killed by metal debris. She was identified as 11-year-old Sarah Radney, who was killed in Seminole County, Georgia, while staying with her grandparents.
John Spink/AP
A vehicle is smashed under a fallen tree when Hurricane Michael whipped through Georgia on Wednesday. One person was killed by metal debris. She was identified as 11-year-old Sarah Radney, who was killed in Seminole County, Georgia, while staying with her grandparents.

By Ben Brasch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The family of an 11-year-old Georgia girl killed in Hurricane Michael is trying to do right by her, but is facing tough odds.

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Sarah Radney died according to authorities, after debris from a carport crashed into the home where she was staying in Seminole County. As of Thursday night, she is the state’s lone reported death believed to be caused by Michael.

“It’s rough, I’ve never lost a kid,” said her father Roy Radney on Thursday night. “One minute I’m o.k. and the next minute, I’m falling apart. And I’ve got five (other) kids to coach through this. I don’t know what I’m doing.”

The loved ones of Sarah Radney have started an online fundraising effort to help pay for her funeral. Her aunt Kim Hendrix, who moved from South Georgia to Mississippi a couple years ago, started the GoFundMe account.

Hendrix said the girl had five other siblings.

>> Related: Hurricane Michael live updates: ‘Looks like an atomic bomb had hit,’ survivors sift through rubble

The accident, which happened in the midst of the storm, left Sarah injured and out of reach of rescuers for several hours. Her father, who was in Thomasville with his other children, ached to rush to her side, but others stopped him for his own safety.

“It’s just so hard being a father two counties away while your child is dying,” Radney said.

He doesn’t blame rescuers for not going out into the teeth of the storm. “When people get these damn warnings, they need to listen. If you stay, that’s what they really mean: No one is coming.”

Hendrix said Sarah loved her family and playing band. Hendrix said her niece was in advanced classes at a school in Cairo.

>> Related: Photos: Hurricane Michael leaves behind path of destruction

Hendrix said that Sarah and her 12-year-old brother were staying with their grandparents near Lake Seminole when Michael hit the area hard. Their father was with the other four children in Thomasville.

Roy Radney, a welder, said any assistance would mean a great deal to the family because he expects to be out of work for a while. “He does a great job giving them what (they need),” Hendrix said of her brother.

By Thursday night, the online fundraising effort had brought in more than $1,200 from about 30 people in less than a day.

“Unfortunately, the family is going through a tough time and while money cannot heal or make the situation a happy one, the funds will assist the family in working through some tough battles in the coming days and months,” the GoFundMe narrative reads.

>> Related: Hurricane Michael: How to help

Due to the power outages, Sarah’s body was taken to Dothan, Ala., Hendrix said. She said her brother will travel to Dothan to take care of arrangements to get her body back, a tough task considering fuel shortages and travel difficulties in South Georgia in the wake of the storm.


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