by: Jeff Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - Two young sisters who were hospitalized for more than a day after a tornado destroyed their home were released from Levine Children's Hospital on Sunday night.
Only Eyewitness News was there for the emotional homecoming.
The girls were half asleep when the hospital van pulled up at their grandmother's house in North Charlotte Sunday night.
Four-year-old Ayana Stevens had stitches in her hand and deep cuts to her face. Her 3-year-old sister Amber also had cuts and bruises to her arms and face. Both girls had been in the hospital since Saturday morning.
Tyrone and Latonya Stevens had lived at the house on Brookstead Meadow Court for eight years. It's the house where they raised their four young children together. The house was destroyed by the tornado.
"I noticed my backyard and debris clear across the highway. And it just shook me to my core," Tyrone said.
"We've been in that house eight years, everything we've got together in our 13-year relationship, was all gone in 30 seconds," he added. "It's just; I've never seen destruction like that ever."
How To Help The Stevens Family:
The family has asked anyone who wants to assist to contact them by email. Their email addresses are below, along with some information about their children.
Jamaal is 7 years old and in elementary school. Ayanna is 4 years old and is in a Pre-K program. Ashley and Amber are 3-year-old twins.
Reach the parents, Latonya and Tyrone Stevens, at either of these addresses: Latonyagstevens@gmail.com or Tyronestevens@hotmail.com
Latonya said she has no recollection of the twister. She said she remembers being on the second floor, sitting in the hallway.
"It started lightning, and I was like, 'Oh my god, I'm going to die,'" Latonya said.
She said the next thing she remembers was that she was still sitting down, only now she was on the ground, and only one of her four kids was still sitting beside her.
"I just held her and I started rocking. And I started praying. And I don't know, after that I just started screaming," Latonya said, choking back tears.
Three of Latonya's children were sucked out of the house and into the back yard.
Her son, 7-year-old Jamaal, was thrown about 50 feet and landed dangerously close to Interstate 485.
"In our back yard we have a hill and there's a fence. And the fence separates us from 485. He was over that fence," she said.
Jamaal has bruises all over his body. He was so swollen and stiff Sunday night that he could barely sit up from the couch to welcome his baby sister’s home.
All four kids were hospitalized but no one had serious injuries.
Doctors from other floors at the hospital visited their rooms just to catch a glimpse, and they gave the children a special nickname.
"They saw the pictures on the news, we told them that was our house, and they looked at them, and couldn't believe it," Tyrone said. "And the doctors called them miracle babies."
Tyrone said the nickname fits. Even though they've lost everything in the tornado, he said he's so thankful that he still has his family.
The Stevens haven't been back to the house yet to see if there's anything they can salvage.
Children thrown from home during tornado, return home
I-85 reopened 14 hours after 18-wheeler crashed down embankment
EXCLUSIVE: Video shows part of chase before trooper shot, killed deaf man
911 call released from home where 4-day-old boy was put in refrigerator
Fans to pack uptown for Panthers first preseason home game