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Charges Filed Against Mother Who Lost Child In Floodwaters

Kaiden Lee-Welch was swept away in floodwaters from Florence in Union County. His mother is being charged in connection with his death.
Union County Sheriff's Office

Charges have been filed against a mother who lost her child in floodwaters during Florence after allegedly driving past barricades in Union County.

The Union County’s Sheriff’s Office said it was filing criminal charges against Dazia Ideah Lee, 20, after an “exhaustive investigation.” Lee faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and driving on a closed/unopened highway after her son Kaiden Lee-Welch died in the September incident.

The sheriff’s office says Dazia Lee was given a criminal summons and is expected in court Nov. 20.

“The tragic death of this child and the circumstances surrounding this case are heartbreaking,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. “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.”

Dazia Lee, who is from Charlotte, was traveling with her son to Wadesboro to stay with relatives at the time of the incident. The sheriff’s office says she drove past road barricades on NC 218, which had standing water.

"This mamma has suffered tragically," Cathey said at the time of the incident. "She lost a child. That’s all you can say. But let me say this: These were dangerous times. This driving through water where the roads are closed are dangerous for anybody."

Cathey described the scene to reporters at a day afterward.

"She went off into 10, 15 feet of water — so much so that she floated across to those woods. I'm going to say [she floated] 100 yards. And then when she got out, [but] she couldn’t get her feet on the ground and she couldn’t swim. So you can see how devastating this is," Cathey said.

Officials say Lee and her baby were able to get out of the car but were separated. Rescuers were able to get to Lee. Kaiden’s body was later found by his mother’s car.