Family looks back on day twins washed away in Waverly flood


Updated: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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WAVERLY, Tenn. (WSMV) - It’s been one year since devastating flooding ripped through Waverly and Humphreys County.

One family lost everything, including their 7-month-old twins, when flood waters rose on Aug. 21, 2021.

On Washington Avenue, the only place left to sit is the stoop.

“It brings back a lot of flashbacks,” Matthew Rigney said as he looked into the bedroom window.

The unit provided Danielle Hall and Rigney shelter for a mere 15 days before a flood washed everything away.

“We just lost it all,” Rigney said. “That’s what I woke up to was Danielle screaming, ‘We gotta go!’ And it was to the porch line.

When they woke up the morning of Aug. 21, they were already out of time.

“Before we got all the kids together and tried to make it out, my car was floating away,” Rigney said.

“This is the window that I came out and when I came out the water was about this high,” Hall said, pointing to the height of the water.

Inside, Rigney clung to their four children.

“I thought we were about to die, all of us,” he said. “Next thing you know, while I was holding, the door busted down and water’s just everywhere through the windows, through the hallway. It was filling up with water.”

What Rigney described as a tidal wave through their home broke his grip, ripping all four of his children from his arms. Only two came back up.

“They should be learning to walk right about now,” Hall said. “Today, they would have been a year and a half old.”

Ryan and Rileigh Rigney were swept out of their father Matthew's arms in swift flood waters in...
Ryan and Rileigh Rigney were swept out of their father Matthew's arms in swift flood waters in Waverly on Aug. 21, 2021.(Photos submitted)

It’s been one year since this family lost infant twins Rileigh and Ryan.

Hall, Rigney and their daughters relive Aug. 21.

“Every day. Literally every day,” Hall said. “They ask about Bubba and Sissy all the time, and they know that they’re in heaven. They know that they’re safe.”

Despite their lingering grief, they visit this stoop often.

“Just living day by day,” Hall said.

“It brings peace like we’re close with the twins,” Rigney said.

Before they head back to their new home, wrapped in shelter once again.

“That GoFundMe money bought us a house in Camden,” Rigney said.

“Even though they’re not here, they blessed us. They found a way to make sure that we were OK,” Hall said.

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