The last thing James Phillips remembers of his daughter, Mykala, is her screams.
The pair, along with Phillips’ other children, were tied together by an extension cord after floodwaters tore their Charleston, West Virginia, home from its foundation on June 23.
That night, James and his children were forced to climb out a window as the flood poured into their home, rising to six feet. He tied Mykala and her brothers, 15 and 17, together with an extension cord and managed to keep them all together, until the cord snapped and her brother lost his grip. The family was separated, with James forced underwater, eventually bumping into the hood of his submerged car.
“We could hear her hollering,” James told ABC News. “But we couldn’t see her anymore. When my daughter wasn’t there, that’s the scariest part of my life.”
Greenbrier County Sheriff Jan Cahill told the Associated Press that the search for Mykalaa – who remains the only person missing after the floods killed 14 others in the county and eight elsewhere in West Virginia – has involved divers, canoes, helicopters, drones and cadaver dogs.
Becky Carter Phillips, Mykala’s mother, told the AP that she’s come to terms with the idea of never being able to properly bury her daughter.
For James, who was in the water for nine hours before being rescued, the worst part of the search is that he can’t join it. He fractured his right foot, sustained injuries to his knee and back and had multiple teeth knocked out – most of the remaining ones, 11 of them, are cracked.
Phillips said Mykala was going to be a teacher at a Bible school this year. He’s asked the public to pray and keep up hope that that they find her.
“You never want them out of your sight, I can tell you that,” he said.