Friends: Couple charged with child abuse saw no neglect

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) - JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) — Friends of a Southern California couple charged with child abuse say the pair was extremely poor and too proud to accept charity, but were attentive parents who didn’t show signs neglecting their children.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that the couple was arrested after a sheriff’s deputy patrolling the remote desert region just outside Joshua Tree National Park came across the family of five living in apparent squalor.

Deputies arrested 73-year-old Daniel Panico and 51-year-old Mona Kirk on Wednesday and the children ages 11, 13 and 14 were placed in foster care. Authorities say the family lived in a 4-foot high, 200 square foot shack without electricity or running water.

Neighbors say the children seemed content, participated in scouts and other community events and frequently visited the library.



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