NEW PEKIN, Ind. March 3, 2012 -- In a field outside of a flattened home rescuers found a young child laying among the bodies of her family who were killed by a powerful tornado.
The unidentified 2-year-old girl was found in New Pekin, Ind., and taken to Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., where she is in critical condition. The girl has one family member, who was not identified, with her at the hospital as she recuperates from her injuries, said Cis Gruebbel, chief of nursing at the hospital.
Washington County Sheriff Claude Combs told ABC News that the girl was discovered near the bodies of her 21-year-old mother and two younger siblings, ages 2 years and 2 months old. The body of a 20-year-old male was also recovered from the field. Combs said it was unconfirmed whether the man was the girl's father.
Forty miles east of New Pekin, in Chelsea, Ind., a mother clung to her 4-year-old son, but the force of the tornado ripped the boy from her arms as the two huddled in the cellar.
The child and his great grandparents, who were upstairs during the twister, were found dead in a field behind their home.
"We lost a very good farmer, a good neighbor and his wife their great grandbaby," Tony Williams, owner of the Chelsea General Store told ABCNews.com.
The 4-year-old boy was identified as Davlin Terry Jackson. Williams said the child's mother, Amanda Jackson, had surgery Friday night and is in the hospital.
The deadly string of tornados turned tight knit rural communities into apocalyptic war zones. At least 38 people were killed Friday in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Georgia and Alabama.
Search crews fanned out as the sun came up this morning looking for survivors and injured people.
Schools were reduced to rubble, businesses were destroyed and families were left homeless by the disaster.
In Henryville, Ind., the town's elementary, middle and high schools were completely wiped out. Receipts from the town were found 150 miles away in Cincinnatti, carried by the brutal force of the storm.
"I'm a storm chaser, and I have never been this frightened before," Henryville resident Susie Renner told the Associated Press.
A city council member was one of three fatalities in Moscow, Ohio. Neighbors watched as a search and rescue team cut through debris, trying to find Carol Forste, 64. The woman did not survive, but searchers found her dog. The pet had four broken legs and will have to be put down, ABC affiliate WCPO reported.
In many towns, a person could travel for miles without seeing an intact house. The only structure left standing in the community of Marysville, Ind., was the town's water tower.
"This was the worst-case scenario. There's no way you can prepare for something like this," Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden told the Indianapolis Star"target=external".
Three bus loads of children, from elementary to high school, rode out the twister in Tony Williams' Chelsea, Ind., store.
"There were a few kids who were upset and crying a little bit," Williams said. "Being a rural community, everyone is really comforting to each other. Right now, we're making sure people have food and a place to stay."
The town of West Liberty, Ky., was completely flattened by the twister. Dozens were reported missing overnight and at least two people were killed.
"The only thing I could think to pray was 'In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost,'" resident Martha Jo Hall told the Herald-Leader. "And He took care of us."
ABC News' Keturah Gray contributed to this report