Local man credits miracle for finding mother in Joplin, MO

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Mechanicsville man Tracy Thomas said Friday that it took a miracle from God to find his mother after a tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri Sunday. Her nursing home collapsed during the tornado. For two days, Thomas and his family worked to track his mother down.

Thomas said he made calls, sent out e-mails, and did everything he could to search for his mother from his Mechanicsville home. But a chance encounter, he said, a miracle, is what found his mother alive.

A musician for a Mechanicsville church, Tracy Thomas already had faith, but he said it took thousands of prayers to keep hope alive.

"We were certain she was dead," said Thomas of his 82-year-old mother.

For 48 hours he reflected on his last moment with his mother Alice Lindsey who has Alzheimer.  She is unable to speak or walk. She was living in a Joplin nursing home when the tornado touched down.

"That's the entrance to the nursing home. Right there," explained Thomas as he pointed to a photo of collapsed building. "Can you look at that and imagine anyone living through that?"

Tracy's brother traveled from Indiana search for Lindsey.

"When he got there, the first place he went to was the morgue. Because we thought she was dead," Thomas said.

But there was no record of his mother. Rescue workers gave Thomas' brother several leads, but none panned out...or so he thought.

"Everything kept leading to this one place in Webb City," explained Thomas.

On Tuesday, two days after the storm, Tracy Thomas got word that his mother was pulled from the collapsed building by a nurse. A second nurse then spotted Lindsey at a rehab center in Webb City. By chance, one of Thomas' Facebook friends knows that nurse and passed along the message through the Internet.

"So I called, and they said, 'Oh I'm so glad you called back again, she was misidentified.'"

Workers at the rehab center misidentified Alice Lindsey as a woman named Catherine.

Thomas' brother sent in a photo and an update: his mother is alive and was pulled from the rubble with just a few bruises.

"It's a miracle. It is a true, true miracle," he said.

Tracy Thomas is forever grateful for prayers, and for God, who works in mysterious ways.

Tracy Thomas showed us his Facebook page. Dozens of people, some he doesn't know, passed along information about his mother. He wants to thank everyone who spread the story of his search.

An airline learned of Tracy Thomas' story. They've offered to fly him to Joplin, Missouri for free.  He leaves next week.

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