Press "Enter" to skip to content

West Virginia couple charged with trafficking their adopted Black youngsters for use as ‘slaves,’ authorities allege

Two West Virginia mother and father are awaiting trial on greater than a dozen costs after adopting 4 Black youngsters and allegedly utilizing them for “pressured labor” on their farm, court docket paperwork present.

Jeanne Whitefeather, 62 and Donald Lantz, 63, who’re each White, have been charged with human trafficking of kids, civil rights violations, use of a minor little one in pressured labor and little one neglect, in keeping with the 17-count indictment.

Madison Tuck, assistant prosecuting lawyer for Kanawha County, West Virginia, advised CNN Wednesday that the trial is about to start on September 9.

Tuck mentioned the kids are “all protected” however declined to provide additional particulars about their location.

Lantz and Whitefeather entered not responsible pleas throughout a June 11 arraignment.

Mark Vegetation, an lawyer representing Whitefeather, advised CNN Thursday that his shopper “completely, emphatically (denies) the allegations.”

“We’re speaking about two mother and father who adopted 5 Black youngsters, has cared for them for the final eight years, and that is going to return out at trial. And we’ll let the jury determine on the finish of the day. However we completely, emphatically deny the allegations.”

Lantz’s lawyer didn’t instantly return requests for remark.

In the course of the arraignment, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Choose Maryclaire Akers mentioned, “I don’t suppose I’ve ever seen an indictment like this in all of my time.”

Akers, referencing the indictment, mentioned it alleges the kids have been “focused due to their race” for use “as mainly slaves.”

CNN has obtained court docket paperwork associated to the case, which started in October 2023 when Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 name elevating considerations in regards to the youngsters.

CNN requested a duplicate of the 911 name, however authorities declined to launch it.

The 911 caller reported the kids have been “made to do farm work” and “not allowed inside the home,” in keeping with a sworn assertion from the deputy who responded to the decision.

A information launch from the sheriff’s workplace famous that “deputies needed to pressure entry into the barn the place they positioned a juvenile male and juvenile feminine locked inside an approximate 20×14 foot room.”

“The youngsters had no means to exit the barn on their very own, no working water, no toilet services, and have been clearly disadvantaged of sufficient hygienic care and meals,” the discharge mentioned.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *