Three children, ages 14, 13, and 11, were neglected by their parents, Mona Kirk and Daniel Panico. The children were homeschooled.
The family lost their home around 2014 and moved to an RV on a friend’s property. They later moved the RV to Joshua Tree, where Panico lived inside the RV with around 40 cats and Kirk and the children lived in a large wooden box, which the children called a “fort”. The family did not have electricity, running water, or heat as protection from the freezing temperatures. While the children participated in activities such as scouts and sports and were active in their local homeschooling community, their homeschool was not registered and investigators found “no evidence they were being educated.” There was not adequate food at the home, which was unsafe and filled with garbage, and several holes on the property were filled with feces. When officials removed the children from the home, they hadn’t bathed in days.
Kirk and Panico were charged with child endangerment and truancy, and allowed supervised visitation of the children.
Date: February 28, 2018
Location: Joshua Tree, California