As emergency workers searched for more than 230 people on a list of the missing after a tornado smacked into Joplin, Missouri, one of them was sitting in a wooden chair outside the wreckage of her home, cuddling her cat.
Sally Adams, 75, said neighbours rescued her on Sunday after the storm destroyed her house and took her to a friend's home. When The Associated Press told Ms Adams she was on the missing list, she laughed and said "Get me off of there!"
Missouri officials said they believed many of the missing were safe and alive but simply had not been in touch with friends and family. When they released the list of 232 names on Thursday, they urged survivors to check in. Mobile phone services in the city remain patchy.
"Our goal is to get that number to zero," Andrea Spillars, deputy director and general counsel of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, said of the missing. "We will dedicate as much state resources as needed around the clock to ensure those families who have loved ones that they cannot find are connected."
The death toll rose to 125, not all of them identified, and officials have estimated more than 900 were injured.
Ms Adams said she lost her phone in the storm and had no way of contacting her family to let them know she was OK. She was placed on the missing list after relatives called a hotline and posted Facebook messages saying she was missing.
Her son, Bill Adams, said he told authorities his mother was alive after he learned she was safe, yet she remained on their unaccounted-for list at midday on Thursday.
Not all of the stories of people on the list will end so well. Ms Spillars said officials know some are dead, but she would not say how many or say when names would be released.
Search-and-rescue teams have made multiple sweeps through the destruction, using dozens of dogs and listening devices in the hope of picking up the faint sound of anyone still alive beneath the collapsed homes and businesses. No new survivors have been pulled from the rubble since Tuesday.
Some families have complained about not being allowed into the morgue to try to identify missing relatives. Don Bloom, the deputy commander for family assistance for the mortuary team, said "the process has to take its time. We have to be 100 % accurate."