East Texas Flash Flood Kills Great-Grandmother and 4 Children

Angela Bronner Helm
Lenda Asberry (inset, top right), 64, and her great-grandchildren—Jamonicka Johnson, 6; Von Anthony Johnson Jr., 7; Devonte Asberry, 8; and Venetia Asberry, 9—were found in the receding waters of Palestine, Texas, on April 30, 2016.
NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth screenshot

Torrential rains pounded East Texas on Saturday, and six people tragically lost their lives, including a great-grandmother and four school-age children.

The downpour forced residents to wade through water up to their chins after rain swamped a cul-de-sac of homes during the night and forced some onto rooftops. In less than an hour, more than 7 inches of rain had accumulated at the city's water treatment plant, according to ABC News.


The bodies of 64-year-old Lenda Asberry and her great-grandchildren—6-year-old Jamonicka Johnson, 7-year-old Von Anthony Johnson Jr., 8-year-old Devonte Asberry and 9-year-old Venetia Asberry—were found in the receding waters of Palestine, Texas.

According to NBC 5, Palestine Police received reports that the family was missing around 3:45 a.m. The bodies of two children were found in the front yard of a residence near their street. A continued search found the bodies of an adult female and two more children.

“She had all four kids trying to lift them up out the water. I don't know how she was doing it,” said Asberry’s son, Doniell Hudnall, to NBC5.

Hudnall said that Asberry was the legal guardian of all four children.

Authorities found a sixth body later on Saturday, identified as 30-year-old Giovani Olivas of Palestine.


Read more at ABC and NBC 5.

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