by: Trish Williford Updated:LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. —
On Tuesday night a heartbroken grandmother stood before a congregation of mourners to tell them about two precious children taken far too soon.
An emotional vigil wrapped up on Tuesday night. More than 100 people paid their respects for little Chloe and James, and for the first time Chloe's father made a statement about his efforts to save them.
"We never gave up hope," said grandmother Nancy Caldwell.
Caldwell is struggling to come to terms with an unspeakable loss.
She is among the more than 100 mourners who gathered at Gold Hill Baptist Church on Tuesday night to pray for the two young children killed at a construction site when a dirt wall collapsed.
"We pray for the community, oh God because truly there is an absence, two young smiling faces, oh God," she said.
Caldwell simply could not fight back the tears as she told the congregation about the hours she spent on Sunday night wondering if she would ever see her babies again.
"As we were praying I did not get an answer. I felt nothing except fear and pain," she said.
Caldwell and her family surrounded the pit for hours, after her grandson James and his cousin Chloe Arwood were buried after the dirt pit caved in on them.
Caldwell told the congregation in the days that followed that she had a vision about the two children.
"God showed me my two babies. He showed me them in the hold, he showed me them taking their last breath, and they both spoke the same words. Their words were Jesus you called us here now, and they were smiling," said Caldwell.
They pit that the two children were trapped inside was being dug by Jordan Arwood, Chloe's father.
On Tuesday night, in his first media interview Arwood told The Associated Press that he tried to save the children, but they were just outside his reach.
He said that he dug faster and faster trying to save them until he could not breathe.
Funeral arrangements are still being made, but Eyewitness News was told that a local church has already paid the funeral expenses for both children.
The congregation thanked members of the Lincoln County Fire Rescue Team who spent hours digging for the children.
The firefighters cried as they hugged the children's grandmother.
Firefighters said this experience will stick with them forever.