Heather Town killed protecting her daughter from tornado in Highlands County, 3-year-old injured

2:52 PM, Jun 25, 2012   |    comments
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Venus, Florida - Authorities say a 32-year-old mother was found dead inside a house in Highlands County that was destroyed as Tropical Storm Debby inundated some areas with rain.

Photos: Local flooding, storm damage from TS Debby

Investigators say Heather Town was killed after she was thrown from her Montana Trail home on Sunday. Town's 3-year-old daughter was also injured by the tornado and is currently in stable condition at a Tampa area hospital.

Town was thrown approximately 200 feet into a wooded area when the tornado struck her home. Shortly after the storm moved through, a neighbor heard a child crying.

He and another neighbor, searched the woods and found Town cradling her daughter.

Town was pronounced dead at the scene by responding EMS. Her daughter was transported to Florida Hospital Lake Placid and was later transferred to Tampa.

Highlands Sheriff Susan Benton says the human story of this storm is the "protection of a mother for her child; she never let go of her little one even in death."

The debris field from this tornado extended over several miles from the Montana Trail home. Property damage was also sustained in the Lake June, Twin Lakes, Cloverleaf and Lorida areas. Numerous homes suffered structural damage from the storm and trees and power lines were downed throughout the area however we are not aware of any further injuries.

Deputies say complete electrical service has been restored to all the storm damaged areas at this time.

More Tropical Storm Debby Coverage:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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