Deputies seize pot, firearms from site where 2 children died - WNCN: News, Weather

Deputies seize pot, firearms from site where 2 children died

Posted: Updated:
STANLEY, N.C. -

The bodies of two young cousins were recovered Monday from the collapsed rubble of a 24-foot-deep pit that was being dug with a backhoe by a man on his North Carolina property.
    
Rescuers had been digging for 6-year-old Chloe Jade Arwood and 7-year-old James Levi Caldwell 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 near the rural site on a two-lane road dotted with modular and mobile homes.
    
Later on Monday, sheriff's deputies removed firearms and the marijuana plant from the mobile home. The 31-year-old father 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.
    
The father had been digging with a backhoe on the site earlier in the day, Sheriff David Carpenter said. He would not say what was being built or if Arwood was doing it alone or had professional help. He did say authorities didn't know of any permits that had been issued for the work or plans detailing the project.
    
Burleson 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 pickaxe when the walls fell in on them, Carpenter said.
    
He said his deputies would continue to investigate what happened.
    
In an interview with The Associated Press, Carpenter later said deputies had not yet interviewed the family living in the home but planned to follow up on neighbors' reports that Arwood was excavating the two-story pit to build some sort of a protective bunker.
    
"They were so distraught we hope to be able to talk to them today and come up with some information on that," Carpenter said. "It's a very large hole. It would look to be something like that, but I don't know. ... We're going to find out exactly what his intentions were."
    
He said deputies would be speaking with county planning and zoning officials about any potential building code violations at the site.
    
Andrew Bryant, a planner with the Lincoln County Planning & Inspections Department, said no permits had been issued.
    
Neighbor Bradley Jones said the children often played in the pit when the girl's father was working there. Jones, who said he works in construction, said there was no structure to support the pit's tall dirt walls and that he questioned the man about the hole's depth.
    
"I told Chelsea not to go in," Jones said, referring to advice he gave his teenage daughter, who babysat the children. "It was dangerous. There was nothing to reinforce those walls."
  

  • North Carolina NewsMore>>

  • Officials: Jail escapees held detective at gunpoint, stole vehicle and weapons

    Officials: Jail escapees held detective at gunpoint, stole vehicle and weapons

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:11:04 GMT
    Calvin and Phillip Metcalf were being held on larceny charges on Tuesday morning when they held an Avery County detective at gunpoint and escaped custody.
    Calvin and Phillip Metcalf were being held on larceny charges on Tuesday morning when they held an Avery County detective at gunpoint and escaped custody.
  • Missionary groups call for evacuation from Liberia

    Missionary groups call for evacuation from Liberia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 8:19 PM EDT2014-07-30 00:19:57 GMT
    Dr. Kent Brantly of Samaritan’s Purse cares for a patient at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia. (Samaritan's Purse)Dr. Kent Brantly of Samaritan’s Purse cares for a patient at the case management center on the campus of ELWA Hospital in Monrovia. (Samaritan's Purse)
    Two North Carolina-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor and a missionary contracted Ebola.
    Two North Carolina-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor and a missionary contracted Ebola.
  • NC man arrested in 20-year-old rape case

    NC man arrested in 20-year-old rape case

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:37:26 GMT
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detective say they have arrested a man for his part in a 20-year-old sexual assault case.
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police detective say they have arrested a man for his part in a 20-year-old sexual assault case.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.