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Parents Of The Children Who Died In Tonto Basin, Charged In Connection With Their Deaths

Two parents of the children, who drowned after they were swept away by floodwaters in Tonto Basin late last year, are being charged in connection with the incident. The father of Colby and Willa Rawlings, Daniel, has been charged with ten counts of reckless manslaughter and child, or vulnerable adult abuse, by the Gila County Attorney. His wife, Lacey, is also facing seven counts of child or vulnerable adult abuse. Three children died, including their cousin Austin, after the family tried to cross flooded Tonto Creek back in November in their military-style truck. The two parents and four other children were pulled from the water after the truck became stuck. Representative Walt Blackman has written a letter to the attorney saying to charge the parents now is “taking this in the wrong direction.” However, he says there should be some consequence for what happened because of their actions. Blackman says: “the natural consequence facing Mr. and Mrs. Rawlings is a heavy burden they will have for the remainder of their lives that they will have to carry, which in my humble opinion is equal to a life sentence.” Since the tragedy, the state House has passed a bill to fund a bridge across the creek.