By Beachboys5500[CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
A couple has been charged with child abuse after authorities discovered that their three children were living in a wooden box in a desert in southern California.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said that it seemed that the children – aged 14, 13 and 11 – had been living in the plywood structure for approximately four years, and were not being fed sufficiently. They were taken into the custody of the Children and Family Services.
Officials were able to locate Daniel Panico and Mona Kirk, the parents of the children, on the property and arrested them. The pair pleaded not guilty to offences of child abuse, with Panico expressing his bewilderment about being prosecuted.
According to the San Bernardino Sun, Panico stated: “I am wondering why all this is happening.”
The deputies of the Sheriff that were patrolling the town of Joshua Tree was able to stumble upon the children after coming across a trailer that was already abandoned and was surrounded by human faeces and piles of trash.
Authorities said that the property did not have electricity and running water, and 30 to 40 cats were discovered to be roaming around the trailer.
The deep contours of the case recalled the discovery of 13 children and young adults earlier in 2018 that were allegedly imprisoned in a house that is located in Perris, a community that is a little more than an hour away from Los Angeles.
Authorities said that the parents of the Perris children had deprived them of food and chained them for years. They have pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of false imprisonment, torture, and child abuse.