Authorities: California family lived in filthy desert shack

JOSHUA TREE, Calif.

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California couple has been arrested for child cruelty because authorities say they were living in a filthy desert shack with their three kids and dozens of cats.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says 73-year-old Daniel Panico and 51-year-old Mona Kirk were arrested Wednesday on a property without electricity or running water. Officials say mounds of trash and human feces were nearby.

Officials say deputies conducting a check of the Joshua Tree area noticed the ramshackle shelter. Captain Trevis Newport says the adults and three children, ages 11, 13 and 14, were living in the confined area.

Investigators say the shelter was only about 4 feet high and 10 feet wide. It appeared to be made of plywood scraps and plastic sheeting.

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