Joplin Tornado

Rachel Markham, 33 | She lit up the room when she entered

Updated: 2011-06-20T19:31:33Z

When Katy O’Keefe awoke and was pulled from the rubble of her home in the 2500 block of Murphy Avenue, she had no idea where her cousin Rachel Markham was.

The two had taken shelter in a closet to wait for the tornado to pass, but it wouldn’t be until days later that O’Keefe and her cousin — Markham’s brother Bobby — would locate Markham’s five-month-pregnant body at a morgue.

“She was so excited about the baby,” said Rachel’s grandmother, Eleanor Markham, who lives in Escondido, Calif. “I just have to believe there’s somewhere they’re safe and together.”

Eleanor said Rachel’s friends and family gathered to remember her at a karaoke lounge in Escondido that she used to frequent. They sang songs to Rachel, celebrating her life.

“Everybody loved Rachel,” Eleanor Markham said. “She would light up a room when she walked into it.”

Rachel Markham, 33, was a hostess at the Red Onion Cafe.

| Brianne Pfannenstiel, bpfannenstiel@kcstar.com

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