Seven children—Erina (age 19, right), Kathryn (16), Benjamin (14), Mary (13), James (11), Frederick (9), and Jane (8)—were starved and neglected by their parents, Michael and JoAnn McGuckin (center). All were homeschooled.
Both Michael and JoAnn suffered from mental illness, and the family lived in poverty completely off the grid. The children subsisted mainly on lily pads and pond water; the house was filled with garbage. Erina, the oldest, was primarily responsible for homeschooling the children and caring for her youngest sister. Erina left home in 2000 to join the military but was medically discharged due to complications of long-term malnourishment. Then, in May 2001, Michael McGuckin died of malnourishment after a long struggle with multiple sclerosis. These events prompted Erina to report the family. When authorities arrived to remove the children, a five-day standoff ensued.
JoAnn McGuckin was arrested on charges of child injury which were later dismissed. She was reunited with her children in 2002.
Date: May 29, 2001
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
|Idaho standoff lays bare a family’s decline||05-31-2001|
|6 Siblings Make a Lonely Stand, Minus Mother, Father and Power||06-01-2001|
|The Children’s War||06-03-2001|
|McGuckin lived in fear, ex-wife says||06-09-2001|
|Daughter Claims Neglect in Idaho Home||06-27-2001|
|McGuckin daughter wanted out||07-04-2001|
|McGuckin on the road to recovery||02-09-2002|
|Idaho, JoAnn McGuckin still at a standoff||05-26-2002|
|Five years after standoff, family members talk||06-05-2006|