Mother of baby swept away, killed during Hurricane Florence faces charges

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NORTH CAROLINA -- Authorities are charging a North Carolina mother with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 1-year-old son, who drowned in floodwaters last month during Hurricane Florence.

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September 14, bringing days of rain and flooding and killing at least 51 people.

During the storm Dazia Ideah Lee, 20, of Charlotte drove around barricades on state Highway 218 "that resulted in the tragic drowning death of her 1-year-old son," Kaiden Lee-Welch, the Union County Sheriff's Office said Monday in a statement on Facebook.

Lee also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving on a closed/unopened highway in connection with her son's death, the statement said.

"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," Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. "However, after a very thorough investigation and taking all facts into consideration and applying the law, we feel that these charges are appropriate."

Deputies served Lee with a criminal summons, and she is due to appear in court on November 20.

Kaiden's body was found September 17.

In a Facebook post September 16, the sheriff's office said search-and-rescue teams had spent hours searching for him after he was swept away in rushing waters from Richardson Creek. It said detectives believed Kaiden and his mother had been traveling east on Highway 218 toward Wadesboro.

Continuing coverage here. 

Google Map for coordinates 35.759573 by -79.019300.

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