North Carolina man charged in dirt pit collapse that killed 2 children

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 19, 2013 5:53 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina man was charged with involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in the April deaths of his 6-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old boy in a pit he had been digging on his property.

Authorities said their investigation showed culpable negligence by Jordan Arwood, 31, in the deaths of the children in Lincoln County, about 20 miles northwest of Charlotte.

The children were playing in the 24-foot-deep (7-meter-deep) hole when a dirt wall surrounding it collapsed.

Rescue workers searched more than 12 hours before recovering the bodies of Arwood's daughter, Chloe Jade, and James Levi Caldwell, from the pit he was digging with a backhoe.

"We are obligated by law to protect the rights of the two innocent victims that lost their lives on that day," Lincoln County Sheriff David Carpenter said.

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Arwood faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the April 7 incident, according to sheriff's officials.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)