A North Carolina mother faces charges after her 1-year-old son was swept away and drowned in Florence floodwaters last month, police announced Monday.
Dazia Ideah Lee, 20, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving on a closed or unopen highway, Union County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Lee and her son, Kaiden Lee-Welch, were in a vehicle heading down North Carolina Highway 218 in New Salem in September when she drove around barricades and encountered floodwaters caused by Hurricane Florence.
The water from a rain-swollen creek pushed her car off the road and left her stuck in a group of trees, authorities said. She managed to get herself and her son, who was strapped in a car seat, out of the vehicle — but then lost her grip on the 1-year-old boy.
“I was holding his hand, trying to hold him, trying to pull him up and it got to the point that I couldn’t hold on anymore, and he let go,” Lee told FOX46 at the time.
Officials found the boy’s body the next day.
“I want you all to know. My son is 1 year old. He’s the sweetest boy you could ever had,” Lee said in September. “…I did everything I could as a parent to save him and protect him.”
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said after a “very thorough investigation” authorities felt “these charges are appropriate.”
“The tragic death of this child and the circumstances surrounding this case are heartbreaking. We continue to pray for all those suffering as a result of this child’s death. However, after a very thorough investigation and taking all facts into consideration and applying the law, we feel that these charges are appropriate,” Cathey said in a statement.
Lee is scheduled to appear back in court on Nov. 20.