Joshua Tree couple accused of abuse hope to get kids back after buying new home

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Joshua Tree couple accused of forcing their children to live in a box sat stoically in a courtroom with the hope of winning back their three kids.

Last month, Mona Kirk and Daniel Panico were arrested after authorities discovered the family living in squalor in a makeshift shelter. Since then they have been prevented from having any contact with their children.

Despite the couple's attorney objecting to the criminal protective order, the judge ordered it to remain in place. However, the couple were granted visits.

They left the courthouse surrounded by their supporters, but did not speak to any reporters.

The couple is in the process of getting a home with donations that were gathered in a GoFundMe account. A family friend launched it 10 days ago and it reached $56,000. The money has gone toward the purchase of a home and its needed repairs.

Friends said the home is key for Kirk and Panico to get their children back. They hope to have the house move-in ready by the weekend.

The couple is due back in court in April.
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