Family of Amazon worker presumed dead in Edwardsville tornado gathers to grieve

Illinois

MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – The employees inside the Edwardsville, Illinois Amazon facility when the tornado hit shared the sheer terror of their experience with Fox 2 News. We were also there as one of the families of those presumed dead gathered to grieve.

“I had to tell my four-year-old daughter that her best friend wasn’t coming home,” said Justice Virden, daughter of Larry Virden.

It’s a day of tears and tough conversations for Larry Virden’s family. They fear the 45-year-old Collinsville resident is among those killed inside the Amazon facility in Edwardsville.

Authorities tell them they’ve found Larry’s wallet and work ID, but nothing more. Larry’s girlfriend Cherie Jones shared the last text message he sent.

“He texted me saying I have to wait until the storm gets over. That’s the last text I got from him,” Jones said.

Jones says Virden was an Army Veteran who’d just started as an Amazon delivery driver a few months ago. They have three children together under the age of 12.

“He loved everybody and he’s going to be missed so much,” Jones said.

Amanda Goss says her first week in her new job as an Amazon driver was nearly her last.

“As I look up, the corner of the building was shaking, and it comes down the garage area and then I felt the gates coming in behind me. All I do is sit there in my van hoping it don’t move,” Goss said.

With the remnants of the building she hunkered down inside of blowing in the cold wind, Goss examined her and her colleague’s damaged cars. Amid the twisted steel and shattered glass, hope the lost can be found.

“We just pray for the ones that are still in there or that aren’t found yet.” Said Goss.

A prayer Larry Virden’s family needs to be answered.

“It’s not supposed to be this way,” said Virden’s mother Doris Virden.

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