A 1-year-old boy was swept into floodwaters Sunday when the car his mother was driving came upon rushing water.
The water from a nearby creek in Union County had risen quickly, and the current was swift. Dazia Lee told local media that she isn't from the area and was unfamiliar with the roads. The water pushed her car off the road and left her stuck in a group of trees, authorities said.
"I was trying to do everything I could. It just got worse. When water gets in your car, you start to panic," she said to WSOC-TV. "It just spun us around in circles and I knew there was no way to get back on land because it just took us that fast."
Lee was able to get Kaiden Lee-Welch out of the car, but the water caused her to lose her grip, she told Fox 46 WJZY .
"I was holding his hand, trying to hold him, trying to pull him up," she told the TV station. "I couldn't hold on anymore and he let go."
She described him as "the sweetest boy."
Little Kaiden's body was found Monday.
A family member outside the home Monday said the mother was in the town of Monroe to return her son's body to Charlotte. He said Lee was doing all right.
Lee said that she would never intentionally put her baby in harm's way. Lee said she is from Charlotte and said there was no barricade telling her about the dangerous situation ahead.
"I saw people coming in and out, so that's when I thought, I was about to detour, but I stopped. I saw the cars coming in and out... thought it was safe," Lee told WCNC.
Lee said she was bringing the baby to visit his great-grandmother.
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said the mother drove around barricades set up to block the dangerous roadway.
"This mama has suffered tragically when she lost a child," Sheriff Cathey said. "That is all you can say."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
'I couldn't hold on' - Mother describes how baby boy was swept away by floodwaters in North Carolina