STANLEY, N.C. – A North Carolina man tearfully begged authorities to hurry to his house to rescue his daughter and her cousin, who were buried when the walls of a 24-foot-deep pit he had dug on his property collapsed.
Jordan Arwood, 31, was operating a backhoe Sunday night in the pit when the walls collapsed and he called 911.
Arwood’s desperate voice is heard on a recording released by the Lincoln County communications center on Monday, when the children’s bodies were recovered.
“Please hurry … My children are buried under tons of dirt,” he said, sobbing.
The bodies of the two young cousins, 6-year-old Chloe Jade Arwood and 7-year-old James Levi Caldwell, were dug out Monday.
Later on Monday, sheriff’s deputies removed firearms and a marijuana plant from Arwood’s mobile home. Arwood 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 Sunday, Sheriff David Carpenter said. Investigators described the pit as 20 feet by 20 feet with a sloped entrance. The children were at the bottom of the pit retrieving a child-size pickaxe when the walls fell in on them, Carpenter said.
The sheriff said investigators would look into reports from neighbors that Arwood had been building some sort of protective bunker.