Family of flood victims says grandmother died trying to save grandchildren

Family of flood victims says grandmother died trying to save grandchildren
(Source: Victim’s family)
(Source: Victim’s family)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)
(Source: KLTV Staff)

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - The family of a Palestine flood victim says she died trying to save her great-grandchildren.

The bodies of Lenda Asberry, 64, and four children were found in their Palestine neighborhood. Police say they drowned trying to escape their flooded home.
 
"I couldn't walk hardly, you had to hold one another and the water was still trying to carry you away," neighbor Jimmy Davis said.

The flood waters on Timber Drive claimed the lives of Lenda Asberry and her four great-grandchildren - Venetia Asberry, 9, Devonte Asberry. 8, Von Anthony Johnson Jr., 7, and Jamonicka Johnson, 6.

"She was trying to get out and trying to help them. She was trying to swim. She had four kids so it was kind of hard to do it by herself," said Lenda Asberry's nephew Derrick Asberry.

Lenda Asberry's son, Doniell Hudnall described the rescue effort.

"They were talking to her telling her to come this way, come this way keep walking," he said. "They say she was trying and once she took so many steps or whatever. I guess she got weak."

Inside the family's home, debris and belongings were still submerged. The water line reached to the ceiling.

"I know it's real but it just ...  it just hasn't hit me yet. I'm trying to hold myself together," Hudnall said.

Neighbors made their way into the community to offer support.

"We may battle each other on baseball fields and football fields and basketball courts. But when a community suffers a tragedy or a setback, the other communities are very quick to respond," Palestine Mayor Bob Herrington said.

The family says they are clinging to their faith, with a prayer for peace in the midst of such a great loss.

"God don't make no mistakes though, but at the same time we are human," Derrick Asberry said.

Officials say six to eight other families were displaced by flooding on Timber Drive. An emergency shelter has been set up at the Palestine Mall in the police training room for people affected.

Herrington said emergency crews were on scene trying to evacuate as many homes as possible during the rising flood waters.

"I'm really thankful for their efforts in doing as many successful efforts as they did last night," Herrington said.

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