Oklahoma Woman Finds Dog, Wedding Ring Amid Tornado Rubble

By: CNN (Posted by Kion Hudson)
By: CNN (Posted by Kion Hudson)

(CNN)-- Emilee Neagle and her family had just 26 minutes to leave their house the night a tornado hit her town of Woodward, Oklahoma.

"The wind was blowing and it woke me up," Neagle said of the moments before she fled.

She heard that severe weather was heading for Woodward, but it wasn't until she turned on the television Saturday night to watch the local news that she realized her home was in the path of the devastation.

A tornado barreled through Woodward -- a community of about 12,000 people -- just after midnight Sunday, killing six people. While the powerful system hit a hospital, blew truckers off highways and shredded buildings in several states, Woodward was the only place where fatalities were reported over the weekend.

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"We didn't take the diaper bag, we didn't take my purse ... I mean, we just ran," Neagle said about her family's escape.
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In the chaos of trying to get out before the storm, she knew they had forgotten a lot, but at the time she didn't realize how much.

"Honestly, it really didn't pop into my head until the next day," Neagle said of the wedding ring she left on the bathroom counter.

They also left behind the family dog, she said.

"I know he's not a human or anything like that, but our dog, my daughter's dog ... has been with her from the very beginning," she said of, Ted, the dog. "We were in such a hurry we left him here. I just thought he was gone."

Neagle is a third-grade teacher and a beloved member of the Woodward community. So much so, that when neighbors and parents of her students heard about what she had left behind, they teamed up to help her look for the "needle in the haystack," she said.

"I started walking down the street, looking for my friends wondering if they were alive and ... the neighbor down the street ... I saw these two little ears (come) up in his pickup. A little boy had found him and picked him up for me," Neagle said about her dog.

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But Ted wasn't all she found.

Armed with a metal detector and the tenacity needed for an all-day search, Neagle and her friends also found her ring -- after nearly eight hours of digging through the debris.

"I've got my girls, my family, I'm fine. This can be replaced," she said, speaking near the wreckage that used to be her home. "It's material things, but it's just the thought of losing your wedding ring."

For now, that's one less thought Neagle has to worry about.


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