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In early December, four people were trapped in an abandoned W. Va. mine. Now they're all in jail.

Charged with trespassing

Image source: Washington Post video screenshot

Two weeks ago, four people were rescued from a West Virginia mine after being trapped for five days. Now all four are in jail.

What happened?

On Dec. 8, Eddie Williams Jr., Kayla Williams, Cody Beverly, and Erica Treadway entered West Virginia's Rock House Powellton mine and ended up trapped. They had reportedly entered the mine through a small shaft instead of the main entrance.

Eddie Williams, 43, managed to escape and alerted authorities to his friends who were still trapped in the mine. It was Dec. 12 before all three were rescued.

"It's a Christmas blessing, that's all there is to it," West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said at the time.

What are the charges?

Officials, and even the mother of one of the four, suggested that the group had entered the mine intending to steal copper. Beverly, 21, and Treadway, 31, have both firmly denied this charge, instead insisting that they had only intended to explore the mine. Even if they were only exploring, though, they would still be guilty of breaking West Virginia's anti-trespassing laws.

On Dec. 20, an arrest warrant was issued for Eddie Williams. On Dec. 21, the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office announced that it had "obtained arrest warrants on Kayla Williams, Erica Treadway and Cody Beverly for entering the idled mine near Clear Creek that resulted in them being rescued by mine safety personnel."

Despite earlier statements by authorities following the rescue, none of the arrest warrants mentioned the allegedly planned theft of copper.

Eddie Williams was charged with "entering without breaking, conspiracy and giving false information to law enforcement."

For his part, Beverly seemed to think that whatever punishment he receives is a small price to pay for being rescued.

"You can't get away from this scot-free," he told NBC News. "I'll take my penalties, I'll go along with it. I'll move along and be a better person for it."

One last thing…
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