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Two Adults Charged in Deaths of 3 Children Last Year

Two Adults Charged in Deaths of 3 Children Last Year
April 05
12:00 2020

Willa Rawlings (age 6)

U  P  D  A  T  E

Charges are being filed in the deaths of three children who drowned near Payson, Arizona last fall when the driver of the vehicle they were in tried to negotiate a raging creek during a heavy rain. The vehicle did not make it and was washed down stream.

And while all of the adults in the vehicle survived, three children died.

The driver of the army-like vehicle was the father of two of the children, and the uncle of the third.

The tragic story was covered by national news. The bodies of two of he children were quickly recovered, but the body of the third child, 6-year old Willa Rawlings, took much longer. Her body was finally discovered downstream on the day of her funeral two weeks after the accident.

The driver of the vehicle, Daniel Rawlings, is reportedly charged with three counts of reckless manslaughter. He had reportedly circumvented signs that were telling motorists not to try to cross Tonto Creek.

In addition, Mr. Rawlings and his wife, Lacey, are reportedly both charged with seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse.

This news comes from the website for the State of Arizona Supreme Court.


December 2019 story:

Willa Rawling’s Body Found Hours After Her Funeral

December  13, 2019

About four hours after the funeral for 6-year old Willa Rawlings, the little girl’s body was found about twenty miles downstream from where she was lost 14-days earlier.

Officials with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement earlier on Friday, saying Willa’s body was found just before 2:30 p.m.

Said, Sheriff Adam Shepherd, “…I am grateful we were able to find Willa today.”

Willa and two other children, both five years old, were washed away when Willa’s father tried to get through Tonto Creek in the town of Tonto Basin during a flooding situation. It didn’t work. Six other people were rescued, including all of the adults. But Willa, her five-year-old brother, Colby, and their 5-year old cousin, Austin, were all lost.

Lakeside, Arizona was the scene at 10 a.m. Friday for Willa and Colby’s funeral. Austin had been laid to rest a week earlier.

Two Adults Charged in Deaths of 3 Children Last Year - overview

Summary: Willa Rawling's Body Found Hours After Her Funeral; charges filed


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