A line of storms dropped an EF-3 tornado in Ripley County Friday. It traveled nearly 11 miles, hitting the town of Holton, Ind. It's there that two Hoosiers lost their lives.
"It just got really, really loud like something had to pop," said Holton resident Josh Canada.
In the blink of an eye, the town went from a place everyone around here knew to something unrecognizable.
"My buddy made it outside before I did and he came running up and he said, 'you don’t want to see it,'" said Canada.
That's because the tornado, packing 145 mile per hour winds, had destroyed more than a third of the town. Two homes just a few yards away were completely gone along with the two men inside.
"His trailer was in here," pointed out Ripley County Coroner Ron Buchanan. "And of course everything was blown back."
Armando Hernandez was newly engaged just two days before the storm hit.
"He'd been in this area for six years, super nice guy," said Danny Beach of Holton.
But the tornado took his life at only 27 years old.
"And Ron’s house was right over here so basically they were neighbors," said Buchanan as Fox59 continued a tour through town.
Now, just gravel remains where Ron Pickett's trailer once stood.
"He wasn't feeling good, he was going to go home and take a nap and go play music later that night, that's when the tornado hit," said Buchanan recalling a conversation with Pickett’s wife.
He wasn't even supposed to be home. Pickett didn't make it out of the storm. The tornado took his life at 59 years old.
"Him and his wife were getting ready to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary," said Buchanan.
He was also a man who loved music and played in a band. He played bass in the Keith Swinney Band.
"You never seen him really without a smile. That was Ronnie, this town was his family," said Buchanan.
And now, the people of this town, family to both these men, must pick up the pieces.
"It's going to be hard for Holton to rebuild but we will, we will," said Buchanan.
Pickett's family and friends came together in Osgood for his funeral Monday.
Armando cannot be laid to rest until the people of this town can send his body back to Mexico to be with his family. A $12,000 cost that they desperately need assistance with. If you would like to help, please contact Father Shawn at the St. John Catholic Church at 812-689-4244.
EF-3 tornado kills next door neighbors in Holton, Ind.
A line of storms dropped an EF-3 tornado in Ripley County Friday