Parents whose three children were dragged into a flooded creek until their death express heartache

A couple who lost three children when their family's truck was swept away in a flooded creek talked about the horrific ordeal in a tearing new interview.

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Daniel and Lacey Rawlings were with their four children and three nieces as they tried to drive their military-style truck down a wild waterway and got stuck in Tonto Creek, Arizona on Friday.

Both parents managed to get out with four of the children and were rescued by a helicopter, but the truck was swept away by the current with three of the children still inside.

Daniel and Lacey & # 39; s son Colby and their cousin Austin, both five, were found dead the next day. Their daughter Willa, six, is still missing and probably dead.

The parents expressed their gratitude for law enforcement and volunteers who worked around the clock to find Willa in an interview with AZ Central on Monday.

& # 39; I want everyone to know that we are hugely loved and blessed to have such a great friendship and families around us & # 39 ;, said Daniel.

& # 39; There have been hundreds of people who supported us looking for our children. I want to hug them in my arms and tell them one by one, which is not possible. & # 39;

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Lacey added: & # 39; The amount of love that was shown, I didn't know it was possible. We feel it. We feel all prayers. We all feel it. We are very grateful. & # 39;

Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, parents who lost two children and a niece when their family's truck was swept away Friday in a flooded creek in Arizona, talked about the horrific ordeal in a tearing new interview with AZ Central on Monday

Daniel and Lacey Rawlings, parents who lost two children and a niece when their family's truck was swept away Friday in a flooded creek in Arizona, talked about the horrific ordeal in a tearing new interview with AZ Central on Monday

Daniel and Lacey & # 39; s son Colby (photo) and their cousin Austin, both five, were found dead about 600 to 1,000 meters away from the truck on Saturday

Daniel and Lacey & # 39; s son Colby (photo) and their cousin Austin, both five, were found dead about 600 to 1,000 meters away from the truck on Saturday

Austin Rawlings

Austin Rawlings

Daniel and Lacey & # 39; s son Colby (left) and their cousin Austin (right), both five, were found dead about 600 to 1,000 meters away from the truck on Saturday.

Six-year-old Willa Rawlings (photo) is still missing and probably dead

Six-year-old Willa Rawlings (photo) is still missing and probably dead

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Six-year-old Willa Rawlings (photo) is still missing and probably dead

First aid workers see the military-style truck pulling out of the rain-swollen creek

First aid workers see the military-style truck pulling out of the rain-swollen creek

First aid workers see the military-style truck pulling out of the rain-swollen creek

The Rawlingses said they were returning home from a family visit on Friday when they came across the flooded creek at Bar X Crossing, east of State Route 188.

The crossing was closed and barricaded because of the high water, but the parents still tried to pass it.

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During Monday's interview, the parents said little about what was happening in the creek because it was too painful to tell.

& # 39; I will say one thing. People always walk around the barricades, & Daniel said.

& # 39; I am not justifying my actions a little, but more can be done. & # 39;

The media coverage of the incident led Lacey and Daniel to criticize their decision to ignore the barricades – but the parents said they were trying to block those critics.

& # 39; We have nothing to say to them, & # 39; said Daniel.

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& # 39; Everyone is a critic, and they are keyboard warriors. Those people may never have experienced anything tragic in their lives. & # 39;

& # 39; I hope they don't have to go through something like that and learn how it really feels, & # 39; Lacey added.

The parents said little about what happened in the creek because it was too painful to tell. & # 39; I will say one thing. People always walk around the barricades, & Daniel said

The parents said little about what happened in the creek because it was too painful to tell. & # 39; I will say one thing. People always walk around the barricades, & Daniel said

The parents said little about what happened in the creek because it was too painful to tell. & # 39; I will say one thing. People always walk around the barricades, & Daniel said

The parents said they are currently concentrating on staying strong for their two older children, ages 9 and 11. & # 39; Their life is shocked, & # 39; said Lacey. & # 39; Their world is turned upside down, and it's waves, just like our emotions. It is up and down. It is constantly changing. They cry; they miss them. They are holding their hugs. All those things are going on & # 39;

The parents said they are currently concentrating on staying strong for their two older children, ages 9 and 11. & # 39; Their life is shocked, & # 39; said Lacey. & # 39; Their world is turned upside down, and it's waves, just like our emotions. It is up and down. It is constantly changing. They cry; they miss them. They are holding their hugs. All those things are going on & # 39;

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The parents said they are currently concentrating on staying strong for their two older children, ages 9 and 11. & # 39; Their life is shocked, & # 39; said Lacey. & # 39; Their world is turned upside down, and it's waves, just like our emotions. It is up and down. It is constantly changing. They cry; they miss them. They are holding their hugs. All those things are going on & # 39;

Daniel and Lacey are depicted with Willa (second from the right, front), Colby (right, front) and their other two children, who are nine and 11 years old

Daniel and Lacey are depicted with Willa (second from the right, front), Colby (right, front) and their other two children, who are nine and 11 years old

Daniel and Lacey are depicted with Willa (second from the right, front), Colby (right, front) and their other two children, who are nine and 11 years old

The parents said they are currently focusing on staying strong for their two older children, ages 9 and 11.

& # 39; Their lives have been shaken, & # 39; said Lacey. & # 39; Their world is turned upside down, and it's waves, just like our emotions. It is up and down. It is constantly changing. They cry; they miss them. They are holding their hugs. All those things happen. & # 39;

They loved to remember Colby and Willa, whom they said were best friends.

& # 39; Colby had the opportunity to make everyone who knew him feel like his best friend, & # 39; said Lacey. & # 39; He loved cars & the movies; he was obsessed with Lightning McQueen.

& # 39; Willa was our spitfire. She kept us sharp all the time. She was very confident of herself and confident in herself. & # 39;

Daniel added: & # 39; Her favorite was not pink or purple. She made it very clear that her favorite color was magenta. And she made it clear to correct you if you were wrong. & # 39;

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family through the tragedy.

Helicopters were panicked looking for Willa in Tonto Creek
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Helicopters were panicked looking for Willa in Tonto Creek

Helicopters were seen furiously in search of Willa on Sunday in Tonto Creek

Volunteers gathered at Punkin Center to start looking for the missing six-year-old girl, Willa. The volunteers waited for instructions before searching on Sunday

Volunteers gathered at Punkin Center to start looking for the missing six-year-old girl, Willa. The volunteers waited for instructions before searching on Sunday

Volunteers gathered at Punkin Center to start looking for the missing six-year-old girl, Willa. The volunteers waited for instructions before searching on Sunday

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