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ANNA — A Union County father and his toddler daughter died early Saturday after a tree fell onto their home, crashing through into the master bedroom in which they were sleeping, according to Union County Coroner Phil Hileman.

Jared Newman, 32, and his daughter, Echo, were killed by the crashing tree. Monday would have been Echo's second birthday.

The accident happened just before 6 a.m. Saturday, hours before the heaviest of winds blew through this area, Hileman said.

“Just a very, very horrible, tragic accident,” Hileman said.

The tree, which appeared fine on the outside, he said, apparently had a deteriorated root base. He said Newman and Echo were asleep in one bedroom of the modular home, while another child, a young boy, was asleep in another bedroom. First responders treated the young boy, who also received injuries, at the scene, according to Union County Sheriff Scott Harvel. Newman's wife, who was preparing for work in another part of the home, was not injured.

"My belief is that with the high winds we had, it finally failed, it didn't have enough root system to (keep it grounded)," Hileman said of the tree.

Harvel said looking at the tree, there was no way to tell that it was decayed on the inside.

"Sad, very sad," he said.

He said Newman, who worked as a substitute art teacher, started a job at the Choate Mental Health and Development Center Center in Anna.

Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Rendleman and Hileman Funeral Home in Jonesboro. Their services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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