Joshua Tree couple gets new home after arrest over kids living in box

Daniel Panico and Mona Kirk can't believe this is their home. A home bought, being fixed and furnished with donations a by a fund started by their friend Jackie. Daniel fights back tears as he says he thought of this moment while in jail.

"I dreamed that we would be together in a regular house," Panico said.

They say they have been living a nightmare since being arrested earlier this month for living on their Joshua Tree property with their three young children in conditions considered unfit.

"I came out of the fort and there were three deputies holding their guns out and screaming for the kids to come out," said Kirk. "It was a little scary."

The district attorney charged them with three counts of felony child endangerment, and they haven't seen or spoken with their children since.

"It's horrible, yeah. It's really horrible," said Panico. "It's shocking," Kirk added. "We had no idea anything like this would ever happen," Panico said.

Their arrest caused an uproar. Community members stood up for them and are still fighting, pleading with the board of supervisors to stop criminalizing poverty and homelessness, which is something Panico also dreams of.

"My dreams are to have this law changed so people are not so easily wrenched from their living, wherever they're living, and children wrenched from their parents. It's not right and it has to change," Panico said.

They say they did try to get help, like many others told the board of supervisors, but because they did not have a physical address, they did not qualify, now they say the county is spending more money punishing them for their hardship.

"We've gone to so many trials and hearings and stuff, and it is a big drain on the resources," said Panico. Kirk agreed, saying, "Yeah, why don't they use that money to do things to help more?"

Offering help is something they say they did for others, even when they didn't have much. They said they never imagined that they would be in the position they're in today.

The love and support being shown to them in their time of need is something they say they'll never forget.

"We appreciate it, really we do appreciate everybody. Thank you to everybody who has helped and donated and we do hope we can give back somehow," Panico said. "Oh we will we absolutely will," Kirk added.
Related Topics:
child abusehomelessJoshua TreeSan Bernardino County