LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – An 84-year-old Michigan woman, known by her friends and family as “The Captain,” was killed when a tree fell on her home Thursday, but a survivor emerged from the wreckage the following day.
Vernita Payne lived in the house with her two dogs. The family thought only one of the two dogs survived the storm.
“This here is a survivor,” said Payne’s nephew, Charlie Dean, pointing to the surviving dog. “He survived the madness that happened last night.”
When they couldn’t find Payne’s second pet, a puppy named Baby, they presumed the pup had died – until they heard a familiar sound on Friday night. They heard crying from the house and hurried to rescue Baby.
Now, they say they have a piece of Vernita back.
“She’s a valuable piece of our puzzle in life. And we lost that little puzzle piece,” said Dean.
Payne leaves behind a huge legacy–the family said she has 95 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and that the memories at her house are endless.
“We’re gonna miss this lady; this lady did a lot for us and for this community. This is a neighborhood people should come and see,” said Dean. “These kids over here have been treated well. As a neighborhood, I’m proud to be a part of it.”
“Every single last one of us have lived and played in that house, slept in that house, played in that park. So we really are a community,” said a family member who didn’t give her name. “This is over 60 years worth of family.”