Linda Brunner, who lives in the area, said she went past the Harris’s home as she drove through town to see if she could help anyone with cleanup.
“Their brick home must have taken a direct hit,” Ms. Brunner said. “There’s nothing left.”
The Highway Patrol said the third victim was Betty Berg, 56. Her husband, Mark, was seriously injured.
In addition to Jefferson City and Golden City, the governor’s office said the hardest-hit areas appeared to be Carl Junction and Eldon.
“We are very thankful we didn’t have any more fatalities than we did,” Gov. Mike Parson of Missouri said Thursday. “But three is too many.”
Mr. Parson, who spoke to reporters in Jefferson City, warned that the death toll could rise.
Golden City and Carl Junction are in the southwest corner of the state, near Joplin. The storms on Wednesday hit on the eighth anniversary of a tornado that killed 161 people in Joplin, one of the deadliest and most destructive tornadoes in American history.
Carl Junction, a town of 7,300 people, has been hit before, too. On May 4, 2003, a tornado swept through the center of the town, damaging schools, City Hall, dozens of homes and a few businesses. That storm was part of a multistate tornado outbreak that also wrecked much of the Missouri cities of Pierce City and Stockton.
Wednesday’s tornado hit the Briarbrook section of Carl Junction, a more affluent part of town, built around the Briarbrook Country Club and Golf Course.