Best Friends Antonia Lee Candelaria, Emily Conatzer Die Holding Each Other In Oklahoma Tornado: Reports

05/23/2013 03:43 pm ET | Updated May 23, 2013
  • Ron Dicker General Assignment Reporter, The Huffington Post
AP / Facebook

Best friends Antonia Lee Candelaria and Emily Conatzer reportedly stayed "inseparable" when a massive tornado took their lives Monday. The two 9-year-old third-graders were found dead in each other's arms amid the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla., according to reports.

"They were inseparable, even in their last moments, they held on to one another and followed each other into Heaven and they will never be alone," read the obituary of Antonia, or "Tonie," whose funeral was held Thursday.

Tonie and Emily became instant friends on the first day of school and later discovered that they were next-door neighbors. "They were always giggling, running, laughing and playing," the obit said.

Tonie's mother, Brandie, told the Daily Mail about her wrenching visit to the medical examiner's office to see her daughter's body. "There were little marks, imprints and tiny scratches on her forearm like someone had been holding onto her, clinging to her," she said.

"I couldn’t be there with her but she was with her best friend and now she’s still with her best friend and knowing that helps a bit."

As of Thursday afternoon, 10 of the 24 confirmed dead were children, seven of whom died at the completely flattened Plaza Towers. Both Candelaria and Conatzer had sisters who survived the devastation at the school.

An Oklahoma City police spokesman on Thursday gave an update on the twister's impact in Moore, estimating that 1,200 homes and 33,000 people were affected, Associated Press reported. The estimated damage has been put at $2 billion.

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May 2013 Central U.S. Tornadoes (GRAPHIC IMAGES)

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