Joshua Tree Case: 3 Children Allegedly Found Living in a Box in the California Desert
Mona Kirk, 51, and Daniel Panico, 73, were arrested in Joshua Tree National Park Wednesday.
A California couple has been arrested on child cruelty charges after cops say they found their three kids living in a box in the desert.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that deputies arrived to a plot of land in Joshua Tree on Wednesday when they found an apparently abandoned trailer and large rectangular box made of plywood.
Three victims ages 11,13 and 14 were discovered living on the property along with their parents, 51-year-old Mona Kirk and 73-year-old Daniel Panico, according to police.
The property lacked all running water and was covered in trash and human feces, police said, adding that inside the abandoned trailer, there were 30 to 40 cats roaming freely.
Cops allege the children were living with an inadequate amount of food in an unsuitable and unsafe environment.
While Kirk and Panico were arrested for willful cruelty to a child, a neighbor told CBS Los Angeles they aren't criminals.
"We're in the desert. People come up here to get away from it all," the neighbor, Mike Reynolds, said. "People come up here to live off of the grid."
Children and Family Service responded to the location and took custody of the three victims.
Kirk and Panico are being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Trending on Inside Edition
Ghislaine Maxwell Reps Herself in Court Demanding 'Financial Support' From Epstein Estate After Lawyers QuitCrime
Buster Murdaugh Denies Involvement in Stephen Smith's Death as Smith Family Pursues Independent InvestigationCrime
Baby Born With Congenital Heart Disease on Way to Transplant Surgery Receives Corridor of CheersInspirational
13-Year-Old Charged With First-Degree Murder After Confessing to Suffocating 4-Year-Old Sibling: PoliceCrime
9-Year-Old Survives New York Car Crash That Killed 5 ChildrenNews
Letecia Stauch Murder Case: Suspect Tried to Fake Polygraph, Drove 1500 Miles to Dump Stepson's Body, Cops SayCrime