An Arizona couple, whose children and niece drowned last year when their family car was swept away in a surging creek, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and child abuse charges on Tuesday.
Lacey and Daniel Rawlings were indicted by a grand jury on three counts of reckless manslaughter and seven counts of child abuse in connection with the November 2019 accident, according to KTVK, citing documents from the Gila County Superior Court.
The couple was driving in a military-style truck on Nov. 29, 2019 with their four children and three nieces when they got stuck trying to cross Tonto Creek after the region saw a heavy amount of rainfall.
The path had been marked as closed with barricades and signs, authorities said. However, Daniel Rawlings previously said people go around barricades to cross the creek all the time.
The Rawlings were able to escape from the truck, which was swept away in the floodwater, with four of the children.
However, the bodies of their 6-year-old daughter, Willa, 5-year-old son, Colby, and 5-year-old cousin were later recovered in the creek.
The Rawlings family has not discussed why they tried to cross the creek with their four children and three nieces.
The couple was arraigned on Tuesday.
"It has been a tough time, a rough year. They were indicted to the day when the accident occurred,” said Bruce Griffen, Daniel Rawlings' attorney, told KTVK.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.