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Joplin, Mo. • Friends and family paid tribute to victims of the Joplin tornado on Friday, beginning the grim task of burying the dead as officials said the savage storm's death toll had risen to 132 people.
As the first funeral began just over the Kansas border, city officials said the body count had gone up by six from the previous day. The state meanwhile worked to pare down the list of people missing and unaccounted for since the deadliest single U.S. twister in more than six decades.
The original list of 232 missing or unaccounted for residents had dropped to 156 by Friday, Missouri Department of Public Safety deputy director Andrea Spillars said. At least 90 people on the initial list had been found alive. But at least six others were identified as among the dead, and some new names had been added to the scroll of the missing.
Authorities had cautioned for days that while they believed many on the list were alive and safe, others likely had been killed.
On Friday afternoon, city manager Mark Rohr acknowledged there may be "significant overlap" between the confirmed dead and the remainder of the missing list. Still, search and rescue crews remained undeterred, with 600 volunteers and 50 dog teams out again across the city Friday.
Earlier Friday, hundreds of mourners packed Tennessee Friends Prairie Church in Galena, Kan., for the first funeral of the tornado's confirmed victims.