Joshua Tree parents arrested for keeping kids in a box for 4 years

The children were aged 11, 13, and 14.

Joshua Tree parents arrested for keeping kids in a box for 4 years

JOSHUA TREE, Calif.- - Two Joshua Tree parents have been arrested on child cruelty charges for housing their children in a box for four years.

On Wednesday, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department deputies were conducting an area check on the 7000 block of Sun Fair Road in Joshua Tree when they came upon a trailer that appeared to be abandoned. The trailer had no running water or electricity and was occupied by approximately 30-40 cats.

Deputies found "several large holes and mounds of trash and human feces" throughout the property during their search according to the Sheriff's Department news release. They then encountered three juvenile victims, aged 11, 13 and 14. They also encountered 51-year-old Mona Kirk and 73-year-old Daniel Panico, the parents of the juveniles.

During the investigation, it was discovered that the three children had been forced to live in the "approximately 20 feet long by 4 feet high by 10 feet wide" plywood box underneath the trailer for four years. 

It was determined that the victims were not adequately fed and were living in an unsuitable and unsafe environment on the property. The Department of Children and Family Service was contacted, responded to the scene, and took the children into its care.

Kirk and Panico were arrested and booked into Morongo Basin Jail on charges of willful cruelty to a child. They are being held on $100,000 bail. 

Anyone with additional information relating to this case is urged to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Morongo Basin Station at 760-366-4175. To issue an anonymous tip, contact We-Tip at 1-888-78-CRIME or online at

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