Couple Living In Walmart Lot With Malnourished Kids Arrested
On Sunday, December 18, police arrested a homeless couple living in a Toyota with five malnourished children, DailyMail.com reports.
The deputy who discovered this unhealthy home base outside of a Walmart in Greenacres, Florida, became suspicious when a stench "similar to that of homeless camps" came from the vehicle.
Ironically, the couple, 34-year-old Donell Barron and Rikki Hart, run a healthy living blog.
When a deputy discovered the group, Barron allegedly told him they were living in motels for a year after the lost their home. After running out of money, they had to live from their car for two months, Palm Beach Post reports.
Inside the vehicle, the deputy discovered five children who were scarily thin and underweight. Their ages were 4, 5, 6, 8 and 14, and the 14-year-old raised the most concern.
Apparently, he only weighed five pounds more than his 8-year-old sibling. In the police report, he was described as "severely underweight to the point that his bones were clearly visible."
It's been reported the children only eat once a day, and their diets consist of salad and bread. They don't shower regularly, but when they do, it's in a lake at a nearby park.
To make matters worse, Barron said the children — whose relationship to the couple has not been disclosed — have never gone to school and were being educated inside the vehicle instead.
The way Barron and Hart have been neglecting these children is especially ironic, since the blog they started in 2014 promotes a healthy lifestyle.
On the website, called "Holistically Beautiful," the couple offers doula services, a healthy eating works program, one-on-one holistic coaching and a "money matters" initiative program.
In a shocking excerpt from the "About Me" section of the blog, the couple wrote,
This blog was created by Donell and Rikki Barron in 2014 to show the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle and discuss topics which can enrich ones' life. [...] They believe in the importance of living a balanced life and the importance of constantly improving oneself.
The blog also states that Barron has his master's degree in rehab science/substance abuse, and Hart has a bachelor's degree is in speech communication.
When the deputy found the group, the couple was completely healthy and clean. On the other hand, the malnourished and unsanitary children were taken to the Palms West Hospital by the Department of Children and Families.
Barron and Hart are being held in Palm Beach County Jail and face a bail of $1,000.