NewsNorthern Arizona News


Couple sentenced for deaths of three children in Tonto Creek flooding

Posted at 5:22 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 13:05:39-05

An Arizona couple whose two children and niece drowned after they drove through a flooded wash were sentenced Thursday.

Daniel Rawlings pleaded guilty in December to three counts of manslaughter and seven counts of child abuse.

His wife, Lacey Rawlings, was set to receive probation in exchange for pleading guilty to child abuse.

The Gila County judge overseeing the case had wide discretion in sentencing Daniel Rawlings, with probation and prison time as options.

Daniel was sentenced to 5 years supervised probation. Lacey was sentenced to 4 years of supervised probation.

The Rawlings were in an oversized military-style vehicle when they got stuck in Tonto Creek, northeast of Phoenix, in November 2019.

The Rawlings and four children were rescued, but three children were swept away and died.

Even though five people had passed away in flooding before 2019, the funding and public support, and outcry, for a bridge never seemed to be enough until after November 2019.

Gila County Supervisor Tim Humphrey told ABC15 last year there were plans to construct a bridge in the area.