Five children, ages 14, 8, 6, 5, and 4, were starved and neglected by their parents, Donell Barron and Rikki Hart. The children were homeschooled.
According to their website, both Barron and Hart have college degrees and they run investment and healthy eating businesses; Hart works as a birth doula. Based on Barron’s statements to police, he and Hart are most likely members of the sovereign citizen movement, whose adherents reject the US government’s jurisdiction. The family had been evicted twice between 2011 and 2016 from homes in Port St. Lucie, Florida for failure to pay rent. It is unknown whether the children attended school during this time. Since their last eviction in February 2016 the family had been living in motels; however, in October 2016, their money ran out and they began living in their car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The children were fed only bread and salad once a day while the parents appeared well-fed. The children used a bucket for a bathroom and bathed at a local park. They had not seen a doctor in years. When they were rescued, the 14-year-old boy weighed only 50 lbs. (5 lbs. more than the 8-year-old) and his bones were visibly protruding under his skin. He also had untreated high blood pressure.
The abuse came to light when the children were found by a patrolling officer. Barron and Hart were charged with child neglect.
Date: December 17, 2016
Location: Greenacres, Florida