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Parents of kids who died in Tonto Basin plead not guilty to manslaughter, child abuse charges

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Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 18:15:51-05

GLOBE, AZ  —  A couple whose two children and a niece drowned in Arizona floodwaters have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and child abuse charges.

Daniel Rawlings and Lacey Rawlings were arraigned in Gila County Superior Court Tuesday, according to Brad Soos with the Gila County Attorneys Office.

Daniel Rawlings was indicted by a grand jury on three counts of reckless manslaughter and seven counts of child abuse. Lacey Rawlings was indicted on seven counts of child abuse.

The Rawlings were charged in connection with the deaths of the children after they drove through Tonto Basin floodwaters Nov. 29, 2019.

Four other children who were also in the vehicle survived.

Soos says a trial setting conference has been set for January 25, 2021.

The drownings have since prompted state officials to announce that $21 million will be used to build a bridge in the area, which is known for its dangerous terrain during wet weather.