A married couple, 29-year-old Melissa Mooneyhan and 28-year-old Michael Mooneyhan, lived in a mobile home in Nashville, Arkansas.
They met as teenagers who attended different high schools. The two quickly fell in love and were married in 2004, even before they graduated.
But when severe storms ripped through their area, things changed.
Their home was completely destroyed in and the young married couple was unable to escape death.
Melissa and Michael’s bodies were buried in the horrific rubble, Daily Mail reported.
Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins says the victims, 29-year-old Melissa Mooneyhan and her husband, 28-year-old Michael Mooneyhan, lived in two adjacent mobile homes along D & J Drive in the city of Nashville.
In 2015, a tornado hit their home and was wiped out by a ferocious twister, which the National Weather Service rated as an EF2, with winds greater than 125 mph.
Melissa and Michael’s trailer and three others were blown off their foundation and torn apart, scattering pieces of siding, insulation, and possessions into neighboring yards and surrounding fields.
The Mooneyhans were killed when their trailer was flipped and “exploded,” Howard County Coroner John Gray said.
He also determined that the Mooneyhans died from blunt force trauma and being pelted with debris from the twister.
When rescuers finally uncovered their lifeless bodies, they found something beneath being described as a “miracle.”
Apparently, their bodies absorbing the impact from the debris slung into the air by the tornado may very well be what saved their young daughter.
“That baby was definitely their life. They considered her their greatest blessing. You couldn’t find two parents who loved a child more,” Melissa’s third cousin, Polly McCammack, told Detroit Free Press.
Neighbor Jim Ewert told Arkansas Online he was there when rescuers came upon the young couple. He said the couple’s daughter was nestled between her parents’ lifeless bodies.
The toddler was believed to be just 18 months old at the time of the tragedy. She survived the brutal storm, completely unscathed even as the home she was in was reduced to rubble.
“I don’t think she had nearly a scratch on her,” said Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Sonny Raulerson.
“There wasn’t enough room for her to even stand up. But, she didn’t try to crawl out. I don’t think she wanted to leave her mama.”
Sheriff Bryan McJunkins called the toddler’s survival a “miracle” and said that the storm was the worst he had ever experienced in the Southwest Arkansas town.
“It’s a miracle,” Sheriff McJunkins said.
“I’ve been working for the county a little over 17 years and I’ve not seen anything like this in the city of Nashville. We’ve had some surrounding areas that have been hit. I do not remember a fatality from one.”
Dozens of buildings were damaged by the storm, including three area churches.
Among the survivors of the storm, eight people were hospitalized with injuries they sustained, but nobody else died, KSLA reported. They have all since been treated and released.
This is a story that shows how far a good parent will go to ensure their child’s safety.
At only 18 months old, the Mooneyhans’ daughter likely won’t remember the parents who sacrificed themselves to save her life or the tornado that took them from her.
But their story will always live on as it reminds everyone of us that a parent’s instinct to protect their child is incredibly strong and can sometimes rival even the strength of Mother Nature.
Share this story to keep the Mooneyhans’ memory alive.