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Friday, June 28, 2024

White Couple Arrested For Enslaving Their Adopted Black Teens

White couple who enslaved their Black children

Nationwide — Donald Ray Lantz and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather, a white couple from West Virginia, are facing serious charges for allegedly locking their adopted Black children in a barn and forcing them into labor, sparking accusations of racism and human trafficking.

Lantz, who is 63 years old, and Whitefeather, who is 62 years old, were initially arrested in October 2023. They recently faced new charges, including human trafficking of a minor child, using minors in forced labor, and endangering children’s lives through neglect, as reported by West Virginia MetroNews. They pleaded not guilty to these charges in Kanawha County on Tuesday.

The arrests came after a neighbor raised concerns with Child Protective Services, claiming to have seen the teenagers confined in a shed at the couple’s home in Sissonville. Other neighbors supported the claim, alleging that the children were forced to do farm work and were not allowed inside the house.

Deputies responding to the scene described appalling conditions, noting that the children were locked in the shed without proper sanitation or running water. The indictment further revealed that the children stated they were forced to sleep on the floor and had been confined for approximately 12 hours.

During a search of the property, deputies found a 9-year-old girl. Later, Lantz returned home with an 11-year-old boy. The investigation also led authorities to discover a 6-year-old girl who had been with acquaintances of the couple from church.

The court proceedings highlighted serious concerns about human rights violations, particularly racial targeting, as all the children involved are Black.

“Human rights violations specific to the fact that these children were targeted because of their race and they were used basically as slaves from what the indictment alleges,” said Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers.

After prosecutors argued that their original bonds were financed through illegal means, the judge raised Lantz and Whitefeather’s bonds to $500,000 each. They were subsequently taken back into custody.