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Twister Strikes Texas Panhandle Town, Baby Killed, Four Hurt

June 18, 1987

PERRYTON, Texas (AP) _ A tornado that lashed out of stormy Texas Panhandle skies demolished a mobile home, killing an 18-month-old girl and injuring three other children and her mother, authorities said.

The twister struck just north of Perryton about 6:30 p.m., Department of Public Safety dispatcher Dwayne Collins.

The family’s mobile home ″exploded and scattered in a very narrow trail for about a half a mile,″ Ochiltree County Sheriff Joe Hataway said.

Elizabeth Vela, 18 months, was killed, Collins said. Christina Vela, 38; Raquel Vela, 10; Rafael Vela, 8; and Jose Vela, 12, were en route to a hospital suffering undetermined injuries, he said.

The father and two other children were away from the home north of Perryton harvesting wheat and were not injured, Hataway said.

There were reports of damage at a lumber yard and to trees in the area, Collins said.

Perryton is 120 miles northeast of Amarillo and 15 miles from the Oklahoma border. A day earlier the oil-dependent town had staged a champagne party to celebrate crude oil’s price topping $20 per barrel.

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