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2 children identified among 23 people killed in Alabama tornadoes

BEAUREGARD, Alabama (WNCN) -- Two young children have been identified among the 23 people who were killed as tornadoes raked Lee County Alabama on Sunday.

 Lee-Scott Academy says Taylor Thornton, a 4th grader at Lee-Scott Academy, was one of the victims from Sunday's deadly tornado.

Another child who was killed was 6-year-old A.J. Hernandez Jr. of Beauregard, Alabama, who his aunt called her "precious little man."

Lee-Scott Academy released the following statement on Facebook:

With sadness this morning, we share that Taylor Thornton, a 4th grader at Lee-Scott Academy, was welcomed into the arms of Jesus as the result of the severe weather event in Lee County yesterday.

Our hearts at Lee-Scott Academy are broken this morning. Please pray for the Thornton family, our students, faculty, and staff during this difficult time. 

Meanwhile, the Lee County sheriff says the death toll may rise as first responders search the area where a tornado killed at least 23 people in southeastern Alabama.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told reporters Monday morning that crews are committed to finding everyone reported missing or possibly trapped in the rubble.

Jones said most of the victims have been identified, but officials are waiting until relatives are notified before releasing their names.

The Sunday tornado was part of a powerful storm system that also slashed its way across parts of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

-- WRBL and CBS News contributed to this report


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