2-Month-Old Baby Dies of Kentucky Tornado Injuries After Being Flung from Bathroom by Winds
A two-month-old baby has died of the injuries she sustained in the devastating tornadoes that swept through Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee last Friday and Saturday.
On Monday, Baby Oaklynn Koon — who had initially survived the event — was taken off a ventilator by her family and died after suffering brain swelling as a result of her injuries, ABC affiliate WHAS11 reported.
When the deadly tornado hit, Oaklynn and her family were hunkering down in a bathroom. Powerful winds pulled the family out of the home and hurled them across the street, WHAS11 reported.
Recalling the harrowing experience, Douglass Koon, Oaklynn's father, told the news outlet that he and his family hid in his mother-in-law's home during the tornado. Hoping to keep his baby daughter safe, Douglass said he strapped Oaklynn in a car seat. "We felt it was more protection for her," he explained.
For more on the devastating tornadoes that occurred and other top stories, listen below to our daily podcast on PEOPLE Every Day.
Opening up further, Douglass told MSNBC he felt "helpless in protecting my kids against it."
"It just picked us up and threw us around and landed us on the other side of the neighbor's house," he added.
After being thrown from the bathroom and onto the street, Douglas and his family — including his mother-in-law, wife Jackie, 11-year-old son Bentley and 4-year-old son Dallas — were buried in debris, WHAS reported.
The family was treated at a hospital for their injuries, and while Oaklynn had some cuts from the tornado, she appeared to be doing well in her first hospital checkup. Doctors noted she had a normal heart rate and blood pressure, and nothing unusual in her X-ray or CT scan, Douglas told WHAS.
A second test later that day, however, showed Oaklynn's health had declined. A brain injury, including swelling, had worsened due to internal bleeding. The family took the infant off life support when doctors said she would be brain dead as a result of her injuries.
"I don't want to see my child suffer any longer than they have to because of me just trying to hold on to something that's not there," Douglas told WHAS. "I'm grateful to have at least two months. She was the cutest baby ever and had the biggest smile and most beautiful eyes."
In a Saturday Facebook post, Jackie shared what it was like to be caught in the tornado with her family. She wrote, "Nothing is more scarier than knowing a tornado is heading your way and hearing your kids freaked out and thinking we are going to die," per ABC affiliate KAKE.
Jackie added, "You really never think you would be the one that goes threw [sic] something like this. Man hold your loved ones tight. I'm surprised we all made it out alive. I never imagined having to go threw [sic] this in life."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
A friend of the Koon family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses, which has reached over $88,000, surpassing its $60,000 goal.
More than 80 people have died in Kentucky following the weekend's tornadoes, Governor Andy Beshear said Sunday.
"This is the deadliest tornado event we have ever had," Beshear said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think it's going to be the longest and deadliest tornado event in U.S. history."