Life & death

Girl, 3, survives Harvey flooding by desperately clinging to body of mother who had drowned

Collette Sulcer and her daughter, Jordyn Grace, in 2015. (Facebook)

New stories of heartbreak are emerging daily from the Houston area in the wake of the deluge caused there by the historic rains brought by Hurricane Harvey. The tale of Jordyn Grace and Colette Sulcer is one of a tragedy wrapped in a miracle.

Jordyn, 3, was discovered alive this week by a rescue team. She was shivering, The New York Times reported, suffering from hypothermia, but alive and clinging to the dead body of her mother, Colette, 41, who had perished in Harvey’s relentless floodwaters. Rescuers spotted Jordyn in Beaumont, Texas, which is about 100 miles outside of Houston. They noticed the small, pink backpack she was wearing. Officials said they were about a half a mile from their car. When rescuers pulled the two onto the boat, they realized the grim discovery they had made. But, there was hope for Jordyn, who they rushed to a nearby hospital.

Carol Riley, a spokeswoman for the Beaumont Police Department, said, “They were in the water for quite some time. The mother did the best she could to keep her child up over the water,” The Daily Mail reported.

Colette Sulcer. (Facebook)

The news of Colette’s fate left friends and family shaken, but their aching spirits were lifted by Jordyn’s improbable survival. Antoinette Logan, 38, a relative told the Times that the 3-year-old said, “Mama was saying her prayers. Jordyn told me they were in the yucky water for quite a while. It’s a tragedy that her mama died, but it’s a miracle that Jordyn survived.”

Colette, a surgical nurse, was remembered for her selflessness and her uplifting personality. Logan, also a nurse, said, “We’re a service family that takes pride in giving back to our community.”

Michael LaBouef, a friend and colleague of Colette’s said, “I always called her baby girl. Her smile, I mean, the room just lit up. You couldn’t help but smile back.” LaBouef said the news of Colette’s death left the staff at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas, where she worked, in a state of shock.

According to reports, Colette and Jordyn had tried to ride out the storm in their home until Tuesday. But when it looked like the rains might be letting up, Colette told co-workers with whom she’d been exchanging text messages that she and Jordyn were going to venture out. But then they ran into raging waters, and their car got stranded. The two fled their automobile and were swept away. In a post on Facebook, Silvia Allison, a relative, described Jordan as “the only girl in our family of all boys, our lil tomboy.” For more on the story, watch the video below.

Read the full story at The Daily Mail and The New York Times.

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