Judge Drops Charges Against Father After His Daughter And Her Cousin Were Buried Alive

This video is no longer available.

LINCOLNTON, N.C.–Jordan Arwood emerged from the Lincoln County Courthouse on Thursday, a free man, after the judge ruled there wasn’t enough probable cause in the case. Arwood faced involuntary manslaughter charges for the deaths of his daughter, 6-year-old Chloe Arwood, and her cousin, 7-year-old James Caldwell.

The two children were playing in a huge pit in April that Arwood dug as part of construction behind his home in Stanley. The defense argued there was no County Ordinance requiring a permit to dig a hole, and no inspector would have approved it. Arwood, tearing up and emotional, left his attorney to speak on his behalf about the judge’s decision they both agree was a step in the right direction.

“There isn’t anything about this court process that can cure this tragedy, bring these kids back. It’s still a horrible act, he’s still minus two in his family, he’ll have to life with that the rest of his life,” said Brad Smith, Jordan Arwood’s attorney.

But, relatives of the two cousins who were buried alive eight months ago disagreed. “It’s a terrible tragedy. I don’t believe there was no purposeful intent to harm the children, but I do believe it was definitely neglect on their parts… all the adults who were there and didn’t stop the children,” said Kathy Standifer. Kathy and James Standifer say they are disappointed with the judge’s decision.
They also don’t believe Arwood’s performance outside the courthouse was a reflection of remorse.
“No remorse whatsoever. The only thing he wanted was his medicine. His drugs. That’s the only thing he cared about.  He’s one of the biggest drama queens I’ve ever seen in my whole life,”said James Standifer.

In October, Arwood was also accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend. The stalking charge was later dropped.