Couple arrested for locking teens in shed without food, water, or a bathroom

SISSONVILLE, WV – Two individuals, Donald Ray Lantz and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather, are currently detained by the police following the discovery of two minors allegedly locked in a shed in Sissonville, West Virginia, according to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s office. Deputy H.K. Burdette responded to a distress call from the 200 block of Cheyenne Lane in Sissonville around 5:45 p.m. local time on Monday. The informant reported witnessing a man converse with the children, then lock them in the shed.

The sheriff’s office stated that the deputies had to forcefully enter the barn, where they found a young boy and girl confined in a room measuring approximately 20×14 feet. The officers noted that the room lacked running water, a functioning bathroom, and basic amenities such as windows, beds, or even a table and chair. The children were reportedly denied proper hygiene and adequate food.

The children, a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, told the deputies that they had no way of leaving the shed. The girl further revealed that this was a regular occurrence and that they had last been fed around 6 a.m. that day before being locked up until the authorities arrived.

Another minor was found in the main house, as per the criminal complaint. The complaint details a distressing scene of a small child, estimated to be 5 to 6 years old, sitting alone on the floor of a loft, crying and dangerously close to a 15-foot drop. The deputies had to force entry to ensure the child’s safety.

Upon the deputies’ arrival, no guardians were present at the scene. However, the adoptive parents, Lantz, 63, and Whitefeather, 61, arrived at the home between 8:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Whitefeather allegedly admitted to the deputies that the children were kept in the shed, claiming that “they like it.”

Both Lantz and Whitefeather were arrested on felony charges of gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of injury. Their bonds have been set at $200,000 cash each, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for October 12.