According to a report by the People on Wednesday, October 4, 2023, two children were discovered locked inside a shed in Sissonville, West Virginia, leading to the arrest of Donald Ray Lantz and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office revealed this distressing case in a press release on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.
The ordeal began when Deputy H.K. Burdette responded to a call from the 200 block of Cheyenne Lane in Sissonville shortly after 5:45 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon.
The caller reported witnessing a man open the shed, communicate with the minors inside, and subsequently lock them in. This alarming situation prompted law enforcement intervention.
Upon arrival, deputies were forced to break into the shed, where they discovered a juvenile male and female, both locked inside a cramped, approximately 20×14-foot space.
The children had no access to running water or functioning bathroom facilities.
They were reportedly denied adequate hygiene and nourishment.
The shed lacked windows, beds, or any furnishings apart from a single table and chair.
The two children, aged 16 and 14, expressed their inability to exit the shed, emphasizing the severity of their confinement.
Disturbingly, the 16-year-old girl informed authorities that this was not an isolated incident but rather a recurring occurrence for the siblings.
She disclosed that they had been given food around 6 a.m. that day and subsequently locked inside until the authorities intervened.
A further distressing detail emerged from a criminal complaint obtained by WSAZ, indicating that another minor was discovered alone in the main residence.
This child, approximately 5 to 6 years old, was found crying near a loft’s railing, with a risk of falling from a significant height.
Forced entry was necessitated to secure this child, given the apparent danger.
The sheriff’s office reported that there were no caretakers or guardians present when deputies initially arrived at the scene.
However, the adoptive parents, Lantz, 63, and Whitefeather, 61, returned home between 8:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
Upon questioning, Whitefeather shockingly confirmed to law enforcement that the children were indeed locked in the shed and suggested that “they like it.”
Donald Ray Lantz and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather now face serious felony charges of gross child neglect, creating a substantial risk of injury, as stated by authorities.
Both individuals are currently in police custody, with bonds set at $200,000 in cash.
A preliminary hearing date for Lantz and Whitefeather has been scheduled for October 12, 2023, according to WSAZ.
This incident serves as a distressing reminder of the importance of vigilance in ensuring the safety and well-being of children.