The Rawlings Family has received more than $50,000 in donations after three young children were swept away during a flash flood in the Tonto Basin area on Friday afternoon.
Two of the children, Colby Rawlings and his cousin Austin Rawlings, both 5, were found dead Saturday. Officials are still searching for Colby’s sister Willa, 6.
On Friday afternoon, six members of the Rawlings family – Lacey and Daniel Rawlings and four children – were rescued when their truck was inundated by surging water after they attempted to drive through a crossing at Tonto Creek. The crossing had been closed earlier that day due to flooding caused by a major winter storm.
The three young children had stayed in the vehicle. Lacey and Daniel are the parents of Willa and Colby. Austin, their niece, was the daughter of Daniel’s brother, Jay Rawlings.
The Rawlings family members are from various areas of Arizona and were in the area visiting relatives for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Lt. Virgil Dodd of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
Colby’s body was found at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, about three miles downstream from where the vehicle became stuck, according to sheriff’s officials. Austin’s body was found at 11:14 a.m.
Fundraiser for Willa
Family friend David Jensen established a GoFundMe page for “the Rawlings Family Tonto Basin Accident” on Saturday. Since then, the page has had more than 329 donors and has been shared more than 6,400 times.
It had raised more than $25,000.
“Thank you to all the many people that came to help the family search for little Willa today,” Jennifer Brimhall posted. “Please continue to pray that she will be found.”
Donor Ric Moon posted, “We love you and your family. We are so sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Another, Tammi Veater commented, “On behalf of my family and I, we want to extend our deepest condolences in this tragic time. Continuing thoughts and prayers for this special family.”
Fundraiser for Austin
Another GoFundMe campaign was created by Ena Tucker for the “Austin Rawlings Memorial Fund.”
It had raised $33,616 of its $50,000 goal by Monday evening.
Tucker wrote on the page that she created the fundraiser on behalf of Lauren Rawlings, Austin’s mother. On the page was a message from Lauren announcing that a celebration of life will be held for Austin at 2 p.m. Friday at CCV Peoria, 7007 W. Happy Valley Road.
“Our Austin was an expressive who loved music and color. We ask those attending the service to please dress colorfully and bring your smiles,” she wrote. “Thank you all for your kind words, support, and prayers as we traverse through this tragedy.”
Breaking News Reporter, Gabriella Khalaj, can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @gabriellakhalaj
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