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Young Man Headed to Chapman in Fall Confirmed Dead, Victim of Joplin Tornado

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Will Norton (Courtesy of The Norton Family)
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Will Norton, the 18-year-old budding filmmaker who was headed to Chapman University in the fall, has been confirmed dead. The young man had been missing since Sunday afternoon, when he was sucked out of the sunroof of a car during the devastating tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, as he made his way home from his high school graduation.Norton's aunt, Tracey, who had set up the "Help Find Will Norton" Facebook page, posted this message last night:

Everyone, tonight is a sad night for us. I'm sorry to tell you that Will was found but he was not alive. We are grieving deeply. It brightens our lives to know that even in his passing he touched lives. We will write more soon but tonight we will mourn as a family. Please pray for Mark, Trish and Sara as well as my parents. God bless you all. Please pray for those still lost and hurting. Aunt Tracey

"Will's life, through so many of his passions, has been such an inspiration to thousands of people throughout his life," notes his relative, Keith Ledgerwood. Norton was an active YouTube user; he was planning to study film at Chapman.

The Daily Mail explains the circumstances that took Norton's life:

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Will Norton was driving home from his school graduation when the tornado struck. His father desperately tried to hold on to his son as the Hummer H3 started to flip, but his seatbelt snapped and he went hurtling through the roof of the vehicle.

Officials in Joplin are working to identify all the remains and locate all of those listed as missing as the aftermath of the deadliest tornado in recent U.S. history continues.

A memorial fund in Norton's name is being established, says his family.