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A father tearfully begged authorities to hurry to his house to rescue his daughter and her cousin, who were buried when the walls of a 24ft deep pit he dug on his property collapsed.
The bodies of the two young cousins, six-year-old Chloe Arwood and James Caldwell, seven, were dug out in Stanley, North Carolina, on Monday.
The sheriff would not say what Arwood was building or whether he had any professional help. He said investigators would be looking into reports from neighbours that Arwood had been building some sort of protective bunker. He said deputies would be speaking with county planning and zoning officials about any potential building code breaches at the site.