5 months later, father arrested in death of 2 children when pit collapsed

by: Trish Williford Updated:


LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - It's been five months since an unbelievable tragedy rocked the Stanley community.

After a lengthy investigation into the death of 7-year-old James Caldwell and 6-year-old Chloe Arwood, Lincoln County sheriff's investigators announced Thursday their case was over.

Chloe's father, Jordan Arwood, 31, faces felony manslaughter charges in the children's deaths.

Arwood has been charged with two counts of felony involuntary manslaughter, according to a news release from the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office.

On April 7, the children were playing in a large dirt pit while Arwood was working at the site using a backhoe to dig and move dirt.

One wall of the pit collapsed, trapping the young children underneath. It took rescuers and emergency-services personnel more than 12 hours to locate the bodies of the children.

Arwood was arrested and placed in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $15,000 secured bond.

"As our investigation continues in this case, we are obligated by law to protect the rights of the two innocent victims that lost their lives on that day. This has been a very tragic event and we continue to pray for all persons involved with this as our investigation is turned over to the courts. At the request of our district attorney, no other statements will be made at this time," said Sheriff David Carpenter.

Arwood's neighbors had mixed reaction about his arrest.

"Do you think he should've been charged? Absolutely," neighbor Jessica Lujan said.

"I don't think he should've been charged for something accidental," neighbor Joey Evans said.

Authorities said Jordan Arwood dug the hole on his parents' property. After police searched that home, they arrested him on drug and firearms charges.

Some people living in the neighborhood said they expected Arwood to be arrested in the deaths of the children, but others believe those charges are too severe.

"I think with what he's got to live with the rest of his life with his children falling in the hole, accidental is enough for him to have to live with the rest of his life," Evans said.

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