Joshua Tree couple behind bars after children found living in box

Joshua Tree couple behind bars after children found living in box

Sheriff's deputies in Southern California this week rescued three children who were living inside a plywood shed on a trash-strewn desert property without running water or electricity, the authorities said on Thursday.

Deputies said that while conducting an "area check" Wednesday on the property in Joshua Tree, California, they not only discovered the box, but also an abandoned trailer housing 30 to 40 cats, and holes filled with trash and human feces throughout the property.

Investigators determined that the children had been living in the (Approximately 20 ft. long X 4 ft. high X 10 ft. wide) plywood box for four years.

Deputies located a travel trailer, which appeared to be abandoned, and a large rectangular box made of plywood on their property, according to a release from the sheriff's department.

Deputies said the victims have lived in the large rectangular box for about four years.

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Three children were found living inside a box on a property in the 7000 block of Sun Fair Road in Joshua Tree. Their children are ages 11, 13 and 14.

They are being held on $100,000 bail.

Kirk and Panico were arrested and booked into the Morongo Basin Jail for willful cruelty to a child.

Child Protective Services took custody of the children, and the parents have been charged with three counts of willful cruelty to a child. They also made contact with two adults a 51-year-old-female identified as Mona Kirk of Joshua Tree and a 73-year-old male identified as Daniel Panico also a resident of Joshua Tree.

Anyone with information about the investigation can call the sheriff's station in Morongo Basin at 760-366-4175.

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