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Family of children who were swept away in an overflowing river face manslaughter child abuse charges

The parents of three children who were swept away in the Tonto Basin in Arizona After three children were swept away in the Tonto Basin last year are being charged in relation to the trio’s deaths.  

Daniel Rawlings was in the driving seat of a car that got swept away in floodwaters and has been charged with three counts of reckless manslaughter and seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse. 

Lacey Rawlings, his wife, is facing seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse.

Daniel Rawlings been charged with three counts of reckless manslaughter and seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse His wife, Lacey, is facing seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse

Parents Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, managed to escape from the car and were rescued, with their children including Willa (second from right, front) and Colby (far front right)were all killed

Neice Austin Rawlings was found dead

Colby Rawlings, aged five, was found dead along with his cousin, Austin

Austin Rawlings, left, died in the accident along with her cousin Colby Rawlings, right

Willa Rawlings also died in the tragic accident. She wasn't found until almost two weeks later

Willa Rawlings also died in the tragic accident. She wasn’t found until almost two weeks later

Bot Daniel and Lacey escaped from the truck with four children but the couples own five-year-old son, Colby, and six-year-old daughter Willa were killed along with their five-year-old niece Austin.

Austin was the daughter of Daniel’s brother, Jay Rawlings. 

The  survivors in the group were rescued and were airlifted to shore by a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.

Officials say one adult managed to swim to shore, while four children and one adult who were stranded on an island in the creek to be airlifted out of the area by rescue crews.

The family had been together for the Thanksgiving holiday last year when their oversized truck became stuck in the creek.   

Map showing location of Tonto Basin, which is in Tonto National Forest in Arizona

Map showing location of Tonto Basin, which is in Tonto National Forest in Arizona

During an interview given in December, parents Daniel and Lacey said very little about what happened at the creek as it was too painful to recount

During an interview given in December, parents Daniel and Lacey said very little about what happened at the creek as it was too painful to recount

The crossing had been closed and barricaded because of the high water, but the parents attempted to pass it anyway.

During an interview given in December, the parents said very little about what happened at the creek as it was too painful to recount.

‘I will say one thing. People go around the barricades all the time,’ Daniel said. ‘I’m not justifying my actions one bit, but there could be more done.’

Media coverage of the incident led many to express criticism of Lacey and Daniel for their decision to ignore the barricades – but the parents said they were trying to block those critics out.

‘We don’t have anything to say to them,’ Daniel said. ‘Everybody’s a critic, and they’re keyboard warriors. Those people may not have ever gone through something tragic in their life.’

‘I hope they don’t have to go through something like this and learn what it really feels like,’ Lacey added.

First responders were pictured in December pulling the family vehicle out of the flooded creek after three children got stuck in the truck that was swept away in flooding on Tonto Creek

First responders were pictured in December pulling the family vehicle out of the flooded creek after three children got stuck in the truck that was swept away in flooding on Tonto Creek

Punkin Center and Tonto Creek, Arizona, seen during heavy flooding in late November

Punkin Center and Tonto Creek, Arizona, seen during heavy flooding in late November

Meteorologist Sean Benedict in Phoenix estimated in the days before the tragedy, up to two inches of rain fell in the area, with some of the runoff coming from snow that fell on nearby peaks.

The region got up to four inches of rain about a week before, Benedict said.

‘So the grounds were already pretty wet and that probably helped with the runoff,’ Benedict added.

Two GoFundMe pages have been set up for both families.

One of the GoFundMe pages was set up for the family of Colby and Willa, which has raised more than $60,000.

A second GoFundMe page was set up for Austin’s family. The page has raised more than $53,000.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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