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Utah parents finding ways to cope after two daughters killed in 2020 flash flood

Posted at 6:20 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 08:26:46-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah — In the year since a deadly flash flood in Little Wild Horse Canyon took the lives of two young girls, their parents are trying to find ways to move forward.

3-year-old Elexia and 7-year-old McKinzley were hiking with their mother and uncle in a slot canyon outside of Goblin Valley on Mother’s Day weekend of last year. Despite it being a bluebird day, a strong storm rolled in and dumped hail and heavy rain on the canyon, triggering a flash flood that swept away the two girls.

A year after the tragic event, ribbons still line the outside of the Graffs home.

“It reminds me every time I come home that my girls are still here,” said Tim Graff, Elexia and McKinzley’s father. “We came home just this last weekend from the mother's day trip, they (neighbors) had left a little rock garden under our tree and just little gestures like that, it really helps a lot.”

The Graffs are trying to stay positive, by using some methods they’ve been working with over the past few years to try and move forward. Since the incident, Becky and Tim have been trying to overcome triggers from the devastating day in Little Wild Horse Canyon.

“You know it is a constant struggle every day,” said Becky. “Every day is a struggle from hearing kids outside playing, driving by a school, brushing my own hair, doing the dishes, everything that you do as a normal day to day basis was changed, forever.”

Last week, Becky and Tim went back to Little Wild Horse Canyon to meet up with a group of first responders and people who assisted on the initial incident. They held a moment of silence on the one-year anniversary in honor of their two daughters. The Graffs went back to the canyon in July of last year.

“Life throws things at you all the time, there’s situations that happen every single day and you never know what the outcomes going to be and so we just, so all you can do is work through it,” said Tim.

At the end of the day, Little Wild Horse Canyon has always been special to the Graffs. It was a place that their children liked to go, it’s a place that holds a special spot in their heart and it’s a place they still recommend recreationalists use moving forward.

“Our girls loved the outdoors, they loved nature, they loved to explore,” said Tim.