An Arizona judge has handed down a probation sentence to the parents who took their four children and three nieces on a fatal drive through swollen Tonto Creek in 2019. Daniel Rawlings, 38, was sentenced to five years of probation and Lacey Rawlings, 34, was sentenced to four years of probation. The couple faced seven counts of child abuse and three counts of manslaughter for the deaths of two of their children and a niece. The prosecutor in the case had insisted that the couple did not simply misjudge the flooded creek, but instead made “a series of bad decisions” that led to the children’s deaths. Sentencing Judge Timothy Wright scolded the parents for giving into the requests of their son, who reportedly asked to drive through the water once more after the couple had taken the kids on a number of joy rides through the swollen creek. In all, the couple had seven children in tow: the three who died and four who survived, including two other nieces. Wright said the parents should have been “their protectors, not their playmates.” Both parents pleaded guilty in the case.
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