Toddler’s Photo Found 192 Miles from Home Destroyed by Tornado


by Rottdawg

STREATOR – Monday, Christine Chalkey searched the country fields near her family’s North Streator home littered with debris from Sunday’s F-4 tornado that ripped through central Illinois. Among the items she found were a letter from St. Louis and a 16 x 20 photo of a child.


Mrs. Chalkey wrote on her Facebook page, “Don’t know if the photo is from someone local, but would like to identify to see how far it traveled along with the siding, insulation, flooring and clothing” she also found. Through various leads on Facebook, Mrs. Chalkey searched to find out more about the little boy and his status.

By Tuesday morning, through Facebook, Mrs. Chalkey had a name for the little boy in the photo. His name is Oliver Essig, and his family’ in Washington, Illinois – 192 miles away – was safe, but their home had been destroyed. Oliver is four years old and he has a twin sister and two brothers.

Chalkey found Oliver’s mom, Kirsten Bane Essig, who wrote these words on Facebook:

“Tonight I am reflecting on the last 36 hours of my life. I want to thank God for saving our lives. It is a miracle that we all survived. A miracle!”

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