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Photos, personal items found 20 miles from Rock Hill tornado site

The power and fury of Wednesday's tornado that left three people dead was so massive that items from two of the homes that were destroyed were found more than 20 miles away - in North Carolina.

On a golf course in the Ballantyne area of southern Mecklenburg County, workers found five photos and a check dated from 2002 that had been in the now-destroyed home of Steve Courtney, one of three people who died in the storm.

There were pictures of holidays and babies - snapshots of years gone by.

And just east of downtown Rock Hill, about 10 miles away, Joe Janetta found a picture of Steve Courtney and another old check.

"It is just sobering - unthinkable, really - to think of how strong the tornado was that this stuff ended up on Main Street," Janetta said.

Later Thursday, while checking a rental property he owns on Eastwood Drive in Rock Hill, Janetta also found a 2009 phone bill and other pieces of paper that belonged to Barbara Hafner.

Barbara and Charles Kenneth Hafner, who lived on S.C. 324 not far from where Steve Courtney lived on Williamson Road, also were killed in the storm.

Personal effects from affected homes were found at the Manchester Meadows soccer complex in eastern Rock Hill, and Barbara Hafner's voter registration card was found at the Child Development Center on Rock Hill's Black Street. On Rock Hill's Green Street Extension, Betty Hicks found canceled checks from the Courtneys, plus pieces of aluminum siding from the damaged mobile home.

"I even have some wallpaper that I found in my yard that must be from the same place," Hicks said. "That's at least eight or 10 miles from my home."

Anyone who finds effects from the storm is asked to contact the York County Emergency Management Office at 803-326-2300, so all can be returned to owners.

"People have gone through a terrible time here," said Cotton Howell, York County Emergency Management director. "These houses were destroyed, so getting these items back to the families is a way that the community can do a good deed and help families put their lives back together."

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