Joshua Tree Couple Back in Court Amidst Protesters

Joshua Tree Couple Back in Court Amidst Protesters

Kitty Alvarado

Protesters gathered outside the San Bernardino County courthouse in Joshua Tree before a hearing for Daniel Panico and Mona Kirk. 

The married couple were arrested in February, and each charged with three felony counts of child abuse after police say they found their three children living in a makeshift shelter.

Panico briefly answered questions before he entered the courthouse, “We’re hoping they’ll drop all charges today.”

But that did not happen. Once again, the hearing was delayed.

And the continued delays upset their friends, like Jackie Klear who says instead of hurting this couple, the county should be helping them, “It’s very frustrating if they can just drop this case because these are not bad people, it’s not the same as some of these other cases you see on the news, this is just, they’re poor.”

But the Deputy District Attorney Michelle Bergey says cases like these take time, “Keep in mind they have to be evaluations of the children and child and family services are doing their own investigation, they’re involving doctors, they’re involving counselors and things like that to kind of determine where the kids are at and that takes a little bit of time.”

But Klear who set up a ‘Go Fund Me’ account, helped fix and move the couple into the home that will be theirs with the thousands of dollars donated says it’s time to reunite them with their children, “They don’t ever have to worry about rent but it is not the happily ever after at least not yet.”