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Charges dropped against father in kids’ deaths

LINCOLNTON (AP) — A judge dismissed charges against a Lincoln County man in the deaths of two children.

Superior Court Judge Ali Paksoy on Thursday dropped charges of involuntary manslaughter against Jordan Keely Arwood.

He had been charged in the April 7 deaths of his daughter, 6-year-old Chloe Arwood and his nephew, 7-year-old James Caldwell.

The children died when a 20-foot wall of dirt collapsed, burying them. They had been playing at the bottom of a pit Jordan Arwood was digging at the home. He later told police it was the start of a house he planned to build.

Arwood’s mother, Nancy Caldwell, and another woman were helping outside of the pit.

Caldwell said she had seen the children playing on a nearby swing set. Then she heard screams.

“I thought Jordan was being buried,” she said. “The next thing I know it wasn’t Jordan. It was the children.”

Defense attorney Brad Smith said the children’s deaths were a tragic accident but were not the result of a criminal act.

It took rescue workers about 12 hours to recover the bodies.

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