Crime & Justice

3 Joshua Tree children found living in large box for 4 years; parents arrested

Deputies found three Joshua Tree children on Wednesday who had lived in a large rectangular box for approximately four years, leading to the arrest of their parents, according to a press release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. The children were 11, 13 and 14.

There were mounds of trash and human feces discovered on the property, as well as approximately 30-40 cats roaming freely inside a trailer. The children were found to have an inadequate amount of food and were living in what deputies describe as "an unsuitable and unsafe environment."

The deputies were conducting an area check Wednesday morning and found what appeared to be an abandoned travel trailer along with a rectangular box made of plywood. There was no running water or electricity. The parents — Mona Kirk, 51, and Daniel Panico, 73 — were found on the property.

The parents were booked into the Morongo Basin Jail for willful cruelty to children. The children were taken into custody by Children and Family Services.