ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - Crews searched a mobile home park strewn with twisted metal and other debris Wednesday for a toddler whose parents reported him missing after a tornado demolished their trailer during a weekend outbreak of deadly storms.
Albany Fire Chief Ron Rowe told a news conference the search for 2-year-old Detrez Green resumed at first daylight Wednesday. The boy's mother told authorities he slipped away from her Sunday afternoon and toddled into their kitchen just before a tornado sent an oak tree crashing through their home.
"He was playing with a toy the last time I saw him," Kevian Green, the boy's father, told reporters. "I just hope they can find him."
Crews were searching "every inch" of the Piney Woods Estates mobile home park where the boy lived, including up in any trees the storm left standing, said Albany Dougherty Search and Rescue Commander Chuck Mitchell.
"He could be anywhere," Mitchell told WALB-TV website
The twister was among at least 21 confirmed by the National Weather Service to have touched down in Georgia over the weekend, when a midwinter outbreak of thunderstorms and tornadoes threatened millions from Louisiana to the Carolinas. The storms were blamed for at least 20 deaths: 15 in Georgia, four in Mississippi and one in Florida.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal toured the destruction Wednesday by helicopter in Albany before heading to nearby Cook County, where seven people perished in a single mobile home park. He said more than 300 state workers were in southwest Georgia assisting with recovery efforts and federal workers were on Hypercars the ground and ready to help once there's an official disaster declaration from Washington.
Asked if he was expecting a faster federal response under President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, Deal said: "I told them this was their opportunity to show what they can do for Georgia. I hope that will spur them on."
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant announced Wednesday that Trump has issued a disaster declaration for four counties in his state, where a tornado Saturday ripped a 31-mile path and more than 500 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged. Residents of the impacted counties are eligible for individual assistance of up to $33,000.
In Georgia, state Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has estimated the weekend storms caused at least $100 million in damage in Georgia.
Search and rescue workers in Albany were looking for the missing toddler from dawn until dusk. Rescue crews had combed through the rubble of the boy's home but found nothing. On Wednesday they were still sifting through debris of neighboring homes.
"We keep a positive attitude throughout our searches until we find an ending," said Bobby Spargo, an Albany fire captain. "None of us can dictate or say what that's going to be."