A couple has been arrested after police found their three children living in a cramped box among feces and trash in Joshua Tree, California, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, according to a police statement.
Police from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department were conducting an area check in the 7000 block of Sun Fair Road in Joshua Tree when they found three children — aged 11, 13, and 14 — on the property. They told the deputies that they had been living in a “large rectangular box made of plywood” for about four years, according to the statement.
The box they were living in was approximately 20 feet long by 4 feet high by 10 ft wide and was found within “mounds of trash and human feces.” Police said the property did not have any electricity or running water.
Mona Kirk & Daniel Panico arrested for willful cruelty to a child after deputies find 3 of their kids living in a box https://t.co/UHhGzkMBgT
— Morongo Basin (@morongobasinstn) March 1, 2018
During the investigations, police discovered that the children were given “an inadequate amount of food” and were “living in an unsuitable and unsafe environment,” according to the statement.
Authorities said there were also 30 to 40 cats found on the property.
The parents Mona Kirk, 51, and Daniel Panico, 73, from Joshua Tree were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child and are being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
— Morongo Basin (@morongobasinstn) March 2, 2018
All three children have been placed in the custody of the San Bernardino children and family services. It is unclear whether the cats have been turned over to animal care and control.