California family lived among mounds of trash, feces, deputies say

California family lived among mounds of trash, feces, deputies say

Kerry Wise
March 3, 2018

Two parents were arrested after their three children were discovered living in a box among feces and trash outside a trailer in Joshua Tree, California, deputies said Thursday.

The makeshift structure - which measured about 20 feet long, 10 feet wide and 4 feet high - appeared to have been constructed of several pieces of plywood, photos showed.

The victim's parents Daniel Panico, 73, and Mona Kirk, 51, could face charges including willful cruelty to a child.

A couple was arrested in San Bernardino County after their three children were found living in squalor.

San Bernardino Sheriff's deputies were checking the area near their home Wednesday afternoon and found a trailer that appeared to be abandoned. At least 30 cats also roamed the premises.

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San Bernardino Sheriff Department spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said, according to The New York Times, that investigators found no record of the children attending school there.

During the investigation, deputies learned the three children had lived in the box for around four years, according to the Sheriff's Department. The suspects lived in an equally dilapidated trailer close to the children's small shack.

Capt. Trevis Newport of the Sheriff's Morongo Basin Station said the children, who weren't enrolled in a school, were "in good spirits". "People come up here to get away from it all", the neighbor, Mike Reynolds, said. "There were living there, and his goal was to build his dream house", Reynolds said.

He added: "We're in the desert".

The children, aged 11, 13, and 14 years old, were found to have an inadequate amount of food and were taken into the custody of Children and Family Services (CFS). Both were booked into the Morongo Basin Station Jail. "They need help but they're not getting arrested".