Family Lived In Filthy Desert Shack With Kids, Dozens Of Cats

Elias Hubbard
March 2, 2018

Authorities in Southern California noticed the ramshackle shelter Wednesday afternoon while conducting a check of the area near Joshua Tree east of Los Angeles, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Police in rural California say three children were forced by their parents to live in a small plywood box for years in squalid conditions on a property inundated with cats.

The couple was identified as 51-year-old Mona Kirk and 73-year-old Daniel Panico. They then encountered three juvenile victims, aged 11, 13 and 14.

Officials made the discovery after happening upon a travel trailer that looked abandoned in the 7000 block of Sunfair Road while on patrol around 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. The trailer had no running water or electricity and was occupied by approximately 30-40 cats.

During the investigation, deputies learned the three children had lived in the box for around four years, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The dwelling cobbled together with plywood and plastic sheeting was only about 1.2m high and 3m wide, officials said.

Several large holes and mounds of trash and human feces were located throughout the property.

The children, who were found to have an inadequate amount of food, told investigators they had been living in the box for around four years.

The children were not being properly fed and clearly living in extreme squalor, officials determined.

Kirk and Panico were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail and charged with Penal Code 273 A (A) Willful Cruelty To Child in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Children and Family Services was called to the location and took custody of the three children.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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