Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rescuers find bodies of two N.C. children trapped in dirt

STANLEY, N.C. — The bodies of two children were recovered Monday from the collapsed rubble of a 24-foot-deep pit that was being dug with a backhoe by the father of one of the children on his North Carolina property.

Rescuers had been digging for cousins Chloe Jade Arwood, 6, and James Levi Caldwell, 7, since Sunday, when the girl's father, Jordan Arwood, called 911. Officials were on the scene near Charlotte within minutes but couldn't get to the children.

"We've been working a horrific scene here," Lincoln County Emergency Services spokesman Dion Burleson told reporters gathered Monday near the rural site.

The father had been digging with a backhoe on the site Sunday, Sheriff David Carpenter said. Investigators described the pit as 20 feet by 20 feet with a sloped entrance leading down to the 24-foot bottom. The children were at the bottom of the pit retrieving a child-sized pickax when the walls fell in on them, Carpenter said.

The sheriff would not say what Arwood was building or whether he had any professional help. The sheriff said deputies would be speaking with county planning and zoning officials about any potential building code violations at the site.

On Monday, sheriff's deputies removed firearms and a marijuana plant from Arwood's mobile home. Arwood is a felon who is not allowed to have guns. He was convicted in 2003 for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

When word spread about the disaster, neighbors ran to Arwood's house and began helping. On Monday, they were somber, saying they were heartbroken for the family. They said Arwood told them that it happened without warning and that he tried to grab the children, but they were just beyond his reach.

Neighbor Bradley Jones, who works in construction, said, "It was dangerous. There was nothing to reinforce those walls."

Rescuers try to reach two children, 6 and 7, on Sunday in Stanley, N.C., where one child’s father dug a pit with a backhoe.

Associated Press

Rescuers try to reach two children, 6 and 7, on Sunday in Stanley, N.C., where one child’s father dug a pit with a backhoe.

Rescuers find bodies of two N.C. children trapped in dirt 04/08/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 8, 2013 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Still worried about family, Tampa Bay Puerto Ricans ramp up relief effort

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Brenda Irizarry is worried.

    Brenda Irizarry of Tampa, while agonizing over the status of family in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, is helping lead an effort to collect and send supplies to the island. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
]
  2. Was it a crime? 10 patients at nursing home died after Irma

    News

    HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — A 10th elderly patient has died after being kept inside a nursing home that turned into a sweatbox when Hurricane Irma knocked out its air conditioning for three days, even though just across the street was a fully functioning and cooled hospital.

    The Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, 1200 N. 35th Ave. [EMILHY MICHOT | Miami Herald]
  3. Oh, Florida! Irma's gone, but she left behind plenty of lessons for us

    Columns

    I don't want to make light of the misery and death that Hurricane Irma inflicted on Florida this month. A lot of it was ugly, and some of it was downright criminal. We saw greed and pettiness on display, and it brought illness and death.

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Craig Pittman.
  4. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  5. Facebook to release Russia ads to Congress amid pressure

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook will provide the contents of 3,000 ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators.