When she was caught in her car during the massive snowstorm that tore through upstate New York, the student nurse transmitted harrowing videos to her family before she was discovered dead almost 24 hours later.
Anndel Taylor, 22, was caught in what Governor Kathy Hochul has referred to as “the blizzard of the century” while attempting to make her way home from a shift at a Buffalo hospital on Friday, according to her mother, who spoke to The Post on Tuesday.
The nurse, born in Mount Vernon, provided updates to her family in North Carolina throughout the rest of the day, including harrowing videos of her being stranded in her car in rising snow.
A picture taken on Friday just before 4:15 p.m. showed her snow-covered windows. Then, shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve, she sent a final message in which she slid down her ice-covered window to reveal another neighboring van that was also trapped in the blinding snowstorm and had turned on its emergency lights.
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Taylor’s mother, Wanda Brown Steele, 54, told The Post, “She had been talking to [her sisters], telling them that she’d called 911 and was scared,”
However, the mother, who came to Charlotte from the Empire State in 2002 when Taylor was just 2 years old, claimed that “the rescue people told her that everything that was trying to get out and help was also getting stuck.”
“I didn’t know anything at first because my kids didn’t want me to worry. But then they showed me the video and I started acting on it,” she said.
Taylor said in her farewell texts to her three sisters in North Carolina that she intended to sleep while she awaited rescues and, if none came, to try to flee on foot.
But by the morning, “she didn’t answer her phone,” which the family “tracked to her car,” her mom said.
If she were saved, she would have called to make sure no one was worried about her because she knew my number.
“And at that point, we knew something was wrong,” her mom said.
Taylor’s ailing father, whom Taylor had moved in with last year to assist with his dialysis treatments, was among the family members Brown Steele contacted in the Buffalo area to ask them to look for her in her snow-covered automobile.
According to Taylor’s mother, a family acquaintance observed her car but thought no one could still be inside.
She claimed that her body was discovered about 24 hours after it was initially found that she had been trapped. “The third time he went out there, he busted the window and found her in the car,” she stated.
Taylor’s family, however, thinks that she most likely passed away from carbon monoxide poisoning since she slept with the engine running to be warm while the snow was covering the exhaust pipe.
“I think she went peacefully,” her mom told The Post.
“She was laying back — she had her arms crossed and her foot up on the dashboard like she was peacefully asleep,” she said.
Taylor’s mother alleged that even after her body was discovered, “the police didn’t get there until late Christmas Day afternoon,” leaving her body in the car for another day.
As a substitute, a volunteer from an impromptu organization called The Buffalo Blizzard attended and “said she was not going to leave my baby out there by herself even if she had to sit there all night,” Brown Steele said.
At one point, the volunteer FaceTimed Taylor’s family — and Brown Steele said: “I saw my baby lying there — she was iced. She was an icicle.”
According to the mother, the unnamed volunteer then assisted some of Taylor’s family members in moving the body to her car so they could eventually get her to a hospital.
Some of Taylor’s sisters claim that numerous 911 calls were made via social media posts but to no purpose.
Even considering the storm’s historic intensity, her distraught mother said she finds it difficult to comprehend why assistance did not show up in time.
“That’s a state, that’s a city, that has this going on all the time — why [weren’t] they prepared?” she asked. “My baby sat out there from Friday to Christmas.”
The tragedy came soon before Taylor’s 23rd birthday on Jan. 13 — and while she “still [had] presents under the tree” for Christmas, sister Shawnequa Brown said.
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The family is attempting to return Charlotte with her body. As of Tuesday afternoon, an online campaign had garnered about $20,000, far above its $12,000 goal.
“We’re trying to get her here — because I want her here with me,” her mom said of her daughter, a “giving person who helped anybody in need.”
Taylor’s grandmother, Sylvia Taylor, told WSOC-TV: “It’s so easy to ask yourself, ‘Why, God? Why?’ But it’s not always meant for us to know the answer to that.”
In a series of heartbreaking tributes online, Brown called the student nurse “the golden child … The funniest, the realist, the hardest little sister ever!”
“I’m so so so sorry; I would do anything to have been there with you,” she wrote.
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