KY3 has powerful coverage on the deaths of five members of the Bilke family during the tornado Saturday, including two connected with the Joplin R-8 School District, Kathy Rountree, a teacher at Franklin Tech, and Clayton Rountree, a student at Memorial Middle School:
It looks like a war zone, with roofs ripped off homes, walls peeled back and stuff that once laid inside now scattered outside.
That's what you can see. What's not so obvious is the sheer number of lives lost -- 13 at last count in Newton County. Five of them were related to Zac Bilke.
“I'm still kind of in shock. When you lose five family members, my dad's side, his immediate family, is gone,” said Bilke.
Bilke says he and his wife were supposed to go to a wedding. Instead, they took cover but it was too late for some of his family members already on the road.
“Four of my family members were in the same car: grandma, aunt, uncle and cousin who was 13,” he said.
Those four were Richard, Kathy and Clayton Rountree and Ruby Bilke, all of Joplin. Ruby was Kathy Rountree's mother. Clayton was the son of Richard and Kathy. Their car was blown off a road near Missouri 43 at Iris Road.
Bilke’s fifth family member killed in the tornado was his wife's grandpa, Paul Gallemore. On Mother's Day, Bilke and others helped Gallemore's widow, who was in the same house yet survived.
(KY3 Photo of Bilke home)