Authorities: California family lived in filthy desert hovel

  • This aerial photo from video provided by KABC-TV shows a ramshackle structure where authorities say a couple, their three children and dozens of cats were living in filthy conditions in unincorporated Joshua Tree in Southern California’s Mojave Desert on Thursday, March 1, 2018. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department says 73-year-old Daniel Panico and 51-year-old Mona Kirk were arrested Wednesday, Feb. 28, on charges of child cruelty. (KABC-TV via AP)

  • This photo provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office shows a ramshackle structure where authorities say a couple, their three children and dozens of cats were living in filthy conditions in unincorporated Joshua Tree in Southern California’s Mojave Desert Thursday, March 1, 2018. The Sheriff’s Department says 73-year-old Daniel Panico and 51-year-old Mona Kirk were arrested Wednesday, Feb. 28, on charges of child cruelty. (San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

  • Daniel Panico, 73, and Mona Kirk, 51, appear in Joshua Tree Court, Friday March 2, 2018 in Joshua Tree, Calif. Two Southern California parents were arrested for suspicion of child cruelty after deputies found their three children living in a squalid desert shack without running water, bathrooms or electricity, sheriff’s officials said Friday. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via AP)

JOSHUA TREE, Calif. — The mounds of trash, old toys and furniture caught the attention of a Southern California sheriff’s deputy passing through the desert earlier this week. As he approached, he spotted a hovel cobbled together with plywood and plastic sheeting.

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