5 Kids, 18 Cats In Back Of Moving Van; Parents Arrested

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The parents of seven children made an unfortunate decision yesterday when they decided to allow five of their kids–four minors and one adult–to ride in the back of a moving van during a cross-country trip.

David K. Detjen, 41, and Rebecca S. Detjen, 40, were taken into custody after an anonymous tip was called in to an Indiana State Police station by a concerned family member, letting them know the group was heading their way from Pennsylvania. The Detjens said they had been down on their luck in recent months and were without a car; the move to California was based on the promise of a job there.

Officials found two children riding in the cab with the adults, and the other five family members were in the back of the van, which was without heat and held the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Also being transported were 18 cats, all locked in crates.

The elder Detjens have been jailed on four charges of neglect, and investigating officers say the parents knew that what they were doing was unwise.

“They were down on their luck for sure,” Sergeant John Bowling said. “They didn’t have a car. This was a last-ditch effort to follow up on a possible job in San Bernardino (in California). But it still was an unwise decision (to allow family members to travel in the cargo area). The dad has told investigators he knew it was a bad idea.”

The family hasn’t commented on the turn of events which led them to pack up and move, but a dragging economy and staggering job loss has weighed heavily on many Americans in recent years. The children are all in the care of Child Protective Services, and the animals have been taken in by Henry County Animal Control.

5 Kids, 18 Cats In Back Of Moving Van; Parents Arrested
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  • va

    Ok, it’s not the safest but obviously they are really down on their luck. I could see if it was middle of summer and kids and cats were unconscious or dehydrated, but that’s not the case. It seems extreme to arrest them. Now they have to pay fines and try to get their kids back with obviously no money, and that promised job is probably gone. Thanks “concerned” family member.

    • lisa

      so would be better for the kids and cats to die of carbon monoxide poising?

      • http://yahoo Erica

        Yeah no doubt. Whats wierd is that there was 18 crates with cats inside of them and umm have any of you bought an animal crate lately? They are not cheap, a small one is like 39! At least they were crated. The kids were in the front where there was no risk of poisoning and the other family members were not minors therefore the chose to ride in the back. Why didnt they get tickets if the parents were arrested? I would cut that family member off, thats terrible they called without trying to help!!

        • Nikki

          I totally agree that it is terrible that the family member did not at least offer to try & help, instead they let the family just get totally destroyed! But, it does state in the article that only ONE of their five children in the back was an adult, the other 4 WERE minors..
          This is what the article says “The parents of seven children made an unfortunate decision yesterday when they decided to allow five of their kids–four minors and one adult–to ride in the back of a moving van…” SO, the only other adult that they could’ve ticketed would’ve been their adult child, but I think that the officials were wise not to charge him/her as well because I personally think that the family is experiencing enough at this point…
          Also, I know what you mean about the crates! Geez, I needed to get one for my cat to go to the vet (I only have ONE cat, thank God!) and it was like $50 or something… I just went ahead and borrowed one from a neighbor! I sure hope that they had got a discount for buying so many crates!

  • Realistic

    I am shocked at how many people think that this is okay that a family did this to their kids and animals. Obviously this poor family had financial problems as most of us do, but there had to be mental issues as well. Life 101- don’t put your kids in a car trunk or in the back of a moving van with 18 cats.

    • lisa

      I agree with you

      • chewbaacaa

        I rode to mexico in the back of a truck with a camper on the back, no A/C didn’t have it in any automobile. Went twice, early 60’s on vacation. I’m didn’t have 18 cats. But if i wasn’t coming back home i would have every cat with me. People these days are all worried about the wrong thing, If they would put that much time in helping people and not labeling people and mining they own business. THIS WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING. They maybe would of found a job from somebody who cared and a animal shelter who were willing to fix the cats for free. People like to see other people hurting now instead of helping them. SAD…….

  • http://yahoo Pam

    I think they could find a better way to help this family then taking the children and arresting the parents. I do not however understand why they have 18 cats! No wonder our shelters are over run with animals. The people that can’t afford to spay animals end up just letting them breed, and of course eventually we hear the stories about children living in animal filth. It would be a nice ending, if the parents get jobs and the children are returned. However, the cats need to find other homes. Ridiculous! 18 cats!

  • http://webpronews Djack

    If you have 18 cats that are all being transported in locked crates then you are not down on your luck! That is a total of 27 mouths to feed… really?? Is that really wise to have so many animals when you cannot take care of your own children properly?

  • Anita

    I think this family made a couple of poor choices. 18 cats? Really? I have one cat and that is costly enough! Honestly though, I think these people need to make a choice to get rid of the cats, save all that money not having to buy cat food and get a car! Then move out west and not put your children in danger. These parents should not be arrested they just need to be told to get rid of the cats. And if that family member was so concerned about the safety of the children maybe they should of helped a little more.

  • lisa

    They are down on there luck cause of 7 kids and 18 cats. I think someone needs to learn some form of birth control!

    • Fantastic

      The cats or the parents?

      • badbee


    • Kim


    • Joe Momma

      SHUT UP “lisa”

  • Fantastic

    Who wants to put money on which cat gets knocked up next….

    • andrea king

      so sad

  • Tim Amato

    They ALLOWED them to ride in the back…they did not FORCE them to. It is not illegal to ride in the back of a truck is it? I used to love to ride in the back of trucks as a kid because it was more fun than riding in the cab with your folks. Big deal. Whoop Dee Doo…

    • Realistic

      Sometimes my computer doesn’t show the picture attached to the article.. I’m sure this is why you commented the way you did. This isn’t an open pick up truck and they are not going on a fun “hay ride”; it’s a moving van with only a small area in the cab portion. It wasn’t that they ALLOWED (you put in caps, so I am as well) them to sit in the back, it’s because this was the only place to sit.
      Please protect the children..

      • Tim Amato


  • Joe Momma

    Concerned family member my a**! What a traitor. You have caused more pain than you’ll ever know. Are you concerned now that the children have been taken away? Can you imagine their fear? Shame on you.

    • chewbaacaa

      all the cats were boys joe momma

      • EMILY

        Leave the parents alone After having 7 kids dont you think they know how to take care of kids. At least they didnt let them wonder into the street like some drug addict parents do. They kept their family together the only way they know how. They might be down on their luck. But the kids were all fine and the parents never beat their kids, neglected them, parents did do drugs. LEAVE THEM ALONE! And the family member dont think the parents dont know you are because they do. I hope they dont ever speak to you again.

  • Maria la O

    I don’t see anything wrong with the man having his children ride wherever. He was looking for a better life for himself and his family. He could have left them behind and let social services in Indiana take care of them while he traveled for his job. But not all families are willing to separate. Not even temporarily. It might be a little crazy to travel with so many animals, but it was best for the children to have their pets while adjusting to the move. It used to be that whenever families traveled from place to place on a pick up truck, the cab could only seat 2-3 people. It was the most common thing for the rest of the party to travel in the back. Hey, there are no guarantees in life. I am willing to guess that the person that called with the anonymous tip, was a disgruntled, controlling, relative that did not want them to leave. Follow the scent and you will find your cowardly trouble maker. I hope someone can start some kind of fund raiser to help this man and his families buy a van for all of his brood to travel in comfort and safety. Social Services, butt out! And stop mooching off of the system yourselves, you are the biggest free-loaders in the entire planet!

    • me

      This family has mooched the system for several years now. Went on unemployment and never applied for places he knew were hiring because he got more on unemployment. However they own a home and have family nearby willing to help. There was no job…just a hope in California. I know the family and believe the call was a last ditch effort to keep the kids safe.

  • Ann

    Are Americans even human anymore? They have NOTHING. It COSTS $ for food, shelter and birth control. I’m appalled at people’s remarks on here. Show some compassion. How is putting the parents in jail going to do any of the kids good? Send them to foster care? The cats to a shelter? Where’s the Red Cross or someone to help these people out? The “concerned” family member should have given them assistance not call the cops. I hope some of the people making harsh judgements about them fall on a little hard time. Even the Grinch grew a heart. Maybe Americans can start too.

    • Matt

      I agree whole heartedly. You say “Americans”, what country are you from? America is running head first into the ground because it is completly controlled by the filthy rich. I wish there was a way for me to get my family out of here because its becoming impossible to survive.

      • Katherine

        Have you heard of “stealth gardening”? What we need to do since Obama was reelected is learn to help each other and learn to grow our own food and help others to do the same. This used to be a country of the “can do’s” instead of the “poor me’s”. We can also learn to make or repair our own clothes, build our own shelter, etc. There are Meetup groups that do exactly that. I know, we have thought of getting out of this country while the getting is possible. We also don’t really have the money to leave. So, while we are stuck in what used to be a country of limitless possibilities, we grow some veggies, have chickens and rabbits, plant fruit trees and try to learn to make things we need. That is what our ancestors did and they were healthier for doing so! Like the movie GALAXY QUEST the commander was always saying “Never give up; never surrender!” Of course, that was a comedy movie.

      • Marilyn Kruse

        Your words tell who you are. My comment to you, is “YOU VOTED FOR WHAT YOU GOT, and now you want a way out of what our beloved U.S.A. has become, and the direction it is going. Don’t blame the “filthy rich”……blame yourself and others like you who voted for your Communist “savior”.

    • Sarah

      Well put Ann and I completely agree!

      • Guy

        I feel for the children.Yet,the father had to do something to help his family, with what he had to work with. That doesn’t mean that what he did was right,or safe.I hope he, and his wife will think things through, before doing anything like this in the future.

  • JP

    So the only thing that could be done for them is to add further damage and trauma by taking away the kids, putting them with strangers (probably in separate homes) taking the animals to a shelter (where they will be put down) and arrest the parents.

    YEP makes me proud to be an American. I guess however if that had entered the country illegally, let their children accompany them in danger of being killed, and not spoken English then they could have had ALL the help they needed.

    • http://WebproNews JG

      I fully agree with you… The family was doing what they thought was best to ensure that everyone was held together… now all the kids are seperated in group homes!? Wheres the family who gave the “anonymous” tip now, when they really COULD use them!?…

  • Lynn

    I struggle to support myself and my one dog, and I will say, if a family member were to do what that family did – there is no way I could even begin to help them. And I would be concerned, maybe to the point that I might call and report them. There are a lot of unknowns here we can’t possibly know: How long had they been unemployed? California was the closest place to find a new job? Perhaps they had received help from local agencies, churches, etc….our local agencies only allow so many “helps” per year. People who abuse the system (and yes, it happens a LOT) will move around every so often for that reason. And, the question I always want answered- did the parents smoke? cut out cigarettes. Beer? gone. reduce the number of cats. Without all those cats there would have been quite a bit more money. I wish them the best of luck, but something just doesn’t sound right.

    • Katherine

      Maybe you can walk some day in those people’s mocassins. Judge not lest ye be judged. Why go out of your way to emphasize the negative possibilities?

  • Daniel Boone

    Wouldn’t renting a car have been cheaper?

    • SMDH

      … and… they were supposed to haul their belongings in… /what/, again? The trunk?

      There’s nine of them, not counting pets. A “car” wouldn’t have cut it, they don’t make 9-passenger Capris Classics, anymore. Not even a regular mini-van would have worked. They would have needed a full-sized van, a Suburban, an Escalade… something that would have cost a small fortune to rent, not to mention the way it’d guzzle gas.

      Then, they would /still/ need to rent a trailer. Or go back and /get/ their things, after having to pay for putting it in storage. Or, pay to have it packed, loaded, and shipped.

      Even taking the bus, the train… none of those would have been cost-effective, either.

  • Leah

    At least these people were trying to do something. I work for people everyday who sit back, complain and wait for unearned money. I would support anyone of my clients who came up with this crazy plan. We reward apathy and punish initiative.

  • Katherine

    Jailing the parents, children, and animals shows an absolute lack of compassion. These people did not abandon their children or animals. They were obviously doing the best they could to keep all of the family together. Why not start a fund so these people, the children and the animals can all stay together? Let the poor guy go so he can get a job and support his family and pets. Donate money to them!!! Don’t lock them up! We have too much government and too little humanity any more. I have volunteered with animal shelters over forty years. A bad person dumps their pets or children on the side of the road. Good people do the best they can. Obviously the relative turning his own family member in to the law is a person who hates his own relatives. WE all need to show more love and less judgment.

    • cj

      I totally agree with you, goverment an police do notihing to help folks who are doing the best they can. They only see lets arrest them so they can pay a crapload of money, that they didn’t have
      before they got arrested. This country cares less and less about it citizens.

  • http://webpronews.com RP

    Let’s see if I have this. They were taking a chance by moving cross-country on nothing more than a hope that there might be a job opening, and there weren’t a lot of options as to how they could do it. On top of that, a “family memnber” dropped a dime on them because of the way they were trying to do this. So now they get grabbed, cuffed and stuffed while the kids and animals are hauled off to who know what’s going to happen to them…….

    And people want to know why I tell them that what I’m doing is none of their freaking business.

    • Katherine

      Right on, brother- or sister! Can’t tell from your initials. What used to be legal in America is frequently no longer so. This way our society can create criminals and then turn them into slaves by removing their human rights. There are so many new laws not even the lawyers can keep up with them all.

      Living in love in Texas

    • Nikki

      Exactly! I think that if you’re planning on doing something, ANYTHING, that you should keep it to yourself until it’s done. Maybe not even then. What has happened to this world? We can’t even trust our own FAMILY now?? It’s just plain sick. At least this man was TRYING to help his family. Is it better to risk driving across country ONE TIME to get help & a job, a new start? OR would it be better to stay in a place where you have family whom are stabbing you in the back and no job, little to no money, and 7 kids to care for? I think that if I were in the same position that I would’ve done the same thing… BUT I do not think that I would tell any of my family members this, after reading this article!

      When I was younger, we had to move a few cities away and we rented a U-Haul.. Well, the one that we rented only had 2 seats in the front (they must’ve changed them since then). SO, my brother & I sat in the back with my father while my mother drove. We survived & I really don’t think that it was all to dangerous to begin with. It was actually kinda fun, except for the things in the back falling on us with every turn! LOL!

  • me

    If you knew the family you would not make these dumb comments. I know the family. They have a home and family willing to help. No job offers in California…just hopes. Job offers here in PA…yes but dad made more on unemployment. All the family tried to help. Calling it in to the cops was a last ditch effort to keep the kids safe.

    • Cindy Balzomo

      There were no Job offers in PA! that is a lie. The family in PA could have not gotten the truck for them. They could have not put the kids in the back of the truck. The grandparents were affraid the kids would go to hell if they moved out to Ca and they swore if their parents tried to take them out of the states they would do what ever they could to have them removed. I HAVE THE EMAILS. These parents were set up! The truth needs to be told.

      • SMDH

        Ouch. Such things really don’t surprise me. Being from PA, I’ve seen the likes of this repeatedly… and have been on the receiving end of other things just about as nasty.

        I’ve even had people ask me what part of /Alabama/ I was living in, when they’ve heard some of the stuff I and my friends have been through, there.

        I really hope it gets sorted out, and this family is put back together. Soon.

    • Pam

      I don’t know the family, but I do know a lot of families. Maybe the “price” of the help was just too high. I’ve got family that I would go homeless before I let them help me just for that reason. I’m not casting aspersions at this family, just noting that one cannot know the whole situation unless they do.

    • adarc

      It seems that is “family” were that worried about they way they were travling, they could have offered to help them drive out there. One minivan would have solved the problem.

  • Mimi

    What a sad story. I seems that the parents were doing their best just to get by and keep the family together. They fell on hard times and could not get up on their feet. Yes, they did make a horrible judgement call on letting the kids and pets ride in the back but jail? C’mon. Show a little decency. Have a heart. Now the family is torn apart….probably all over the state, sad, broke, dejected. Nice. Nice way to spend the holidays.

  • Wing Nut

    I understand that they were just doing what they felt they had to do for their family. But getting caught was so much better than opening the truck after a long day of driving to find your family in the back of the truck poisened because of the carbon monoxide. With my husband recently unemployed I understand feeling like you have to do anything within your power to find a job and get the bills paid, but it’s not worth losing your family over.

  • anen

    This reminds of that time when this dude called the cops on my dad/parents as he was unloading us into back of this truck (this was our only transportation we had at the time) I think he thought he was abducting us LOL

  • A

    lets see: for the safety of the children in the cab-riding hundreds of miles in a box truck; no seat belts; no heat; no fresh air; thousands of cars passing by; one unsafe driver is all it takes to hit that truck and kill those children and animals-was anyone thinking about the safety of those riding in the back? A few years back, here in the state of Indian, a bunch of men were riding in the back of an enclosed box truck-it was involved in an accident and there were fatalities….sounds like to me no one was thinking about safety. Someone needs to take care of those children-parents obviously weren’t thinking about them. Sorry….

  • jolene1961

    How can they feed and properly take care of 18 cats, and be “down on their luck?” How could they get the moving truck, don’t they require a deposit or credit card? Something isn’t right here.. sorry.

    • EMILY

      Do some peoples living of stand meaning down on their luck. Obviously means running out of money. This family may have come from an affluent neighborhood. Everyone needs to stop talking badly about them and as they say “PUt your money where you mouth is” Help these people donate some money to their cause.

  • SMDH

    As I posted to someone else on here directly… has no one considered that these people were very possibly Catholic? The large majority of christians in (in Clarion Co.) are. It’s the single largest religious denomination there. This means they could NOT use birth control. And a wife can NOT choose to abstain. Not that anything other than abstinence is 100% effective, anyway.

    Most of the rest are Protestants… who are greatly divided on the use of contraception. The two largest groups in PA believe (the first) that contraception is anathema to christian values, or that (the second group) only the natural method should be used, if any. They both believe children are all gifts from God, and a part of his divine plan… and each should be kept, loved, and cherished, regardless of the family’s ability to support them.

    What should people do if there’s an accidental pregnancy after they’ve already had an “acceptable number” of kids? Kill the extras off, or put them up for adoption because /you/ feel they have too many?

    The youngest child was nine. All of their kids were born when there was still a family income, and the economy was years from tanking.

    This person who called on them… it was an anonymous tip by someone /claiming/ to be a relative. Most likely a meddling neighbor, or someone to whom (yes, perhaps a relation) this financially-challenged family owed money. Or someone who was afraid they were coming /their/ direction to stay, whilst dad got settled into his new job.

    Though my own egg donor is just crazy enough to have “helped” in such a way, had I or my siblings been forced into such an unpleasant situation. Some families are just not close-knit. Others are flat out dysfunctional.

    How did this person know their truck? Their itinerary? How did they know exactly /which/ vehicle to tell police to target… and yet they couldn’t tell them, specifically, if there /was/ kids in the back, or not? Just that there /may/ be. Someone went to a lot of trouble to be certain they were stopped.

    And called in without giving a name. CPS demands a name, when a call is made, and assures the person calling their identity will be withheld. I’ve made such calls, before. They want the name to run a check and make certain the source is a reputable and reliable one. And they want contact information if they need to gather any more information from that particular source.

    As for the actual travel situation, the kids were not in the back unsupervised — there was a legally-recognized adult sibling with them. They had layers of heavy clothing and sleeping bags. They had two cell phones with which to communicate with their parents.

    The two kids in the cab when found were 14 and 15. Likely they were rotating the kids around, youngest to oldest, giving them each a turn (two at a time) at being up front where it was warmer, better ventilated, and where their parents could talk with them and be certain everyone in back was ok. Perhaps the parents were taking turns in back with them, as well.

    ~ Travel a bit. Hit a rest stop, restaurant, or fueling point. Have a Chinese fire drill. Everyone is shifted around, two… perhaps three… others take their place up front. Go on to the next stopping point. Do it all again. ~

    The cats (yes, I’m a cat person. Yes, I believe 18 is a /bit/ too many, when you’re running on financial empty… but it could easily have been two or three queens and a couple litters of kittens they hadn’t had a chance to give away yet, perhaps because of their age *shrug* Who of us knows?), though numerous, were apparently being taken care of, too. They were each in their own, individual carriers. There was no crowding, no reported filth. They say nothing about them being neglected or hungry.

    For that matter… neither were the children.

    They were only described as being in the back of a cold truck on a long trip. Not that the /children/ were cold. Not that they were unhappy, or ill, or scared, or anti-social, or filthy, or hungry. All ear-marks of on-going neglect and abuse.

    No, the only issue being taken, here, is that they were in the back of a chilly truck on a long trip.

    These parents didn’t cry “FOUL!” when they were found. They didn’t try to make excuses, or whine, or cry, or lie their way out of it. No, they straight-up admitted it wasn’t the best way to have gone about it. They admitted they really didn’t want to have to do it. But, they couldn’t find any other option. They just wanted their family together, financially stable. They saw this as their one last chance.

    And, now, they’re being charged with FELONY neglect. Four counts.

    They can’t afford to pay their bond. They won’t be able to get their kids back without a stable and permanent address and an income of some reliable sort. Their pets are probably going to be euthanized. At the very least, the kids are likely never going to see any of the cats, again. And, dad can kiss his new job opportunity good-bye.

    • Johnna

      Hey why dont you up your meds? No one care what religion they are. They were people down on their luck and needed help. So nice of a Family member to call the cops on them instead of helping.

      • SMDH

        Actually, I was responding to the gross number of people here who were rudely and judgmentally stating they needed to learn to use birth control. Thus my bringing up religion. I was born and raised in PA, so I’m well aware of the denominational dichotomy of the greater majority of the state, something most here are likely not. And, precisely how these religions view birth control. It was, as one might say, a verbal… or, rather, literary… “smackdown”.

        I’m sorry. Did I use too many big words for you? You seem to have abysmal reading comprehension, if you can’t understand how my revelations of religious views was pertinent to the conversations going on around us in any way, shape or form, nor did you seemingly grasp that I fully believe these people were sorely maltreated and given the short end of a truly crappy stick.

        I’ll “up [my] meds” if you take a few courses in adult literacy. Deal?

  • Johnna

    Yes, lets just deal a crushing blow to a family trying to make it in these awful times. These people need help not another stone on their backs.

  • http://webpronews.com jlong

    If you google the dad’s name, he comes as a registered child molester in Fairmount City, PA.

    • ml

      If you google my name, you come up with a registered pedophile in the state of Florida. In fact,there are 699 people in the US with my name. (But there are only 6 people with the dad’s name in the US, so you may be on to something.)

      • http://webpronews.com jlong

        I found him on offendex.com

        • BR

          It does appear to be the same man. Same age, same town, same middle name. Disturbing that he was around kids for any reason.

      • http://webpronews.com jlong

        I found him in offendex.com

    • Janet

      jlong, do you have identifiers such as his date of birth, SSN, a physical description or anything to verify his identity? Or did you just google his name and make an assumption? Be careful when you throw names around.

      • shrillharpy

        Your question was answered above. Some people will twist themselves into knots to give losers the benefit of the doubt.

  • Muffy

    They didn’t have any money, so they did what they had to do. They were moving hoping for a better life. I would be 100% on the law’s side if the parents were abusive, but they’re not.

  • Robert

    If the “family member” was so concerned, why didn’t he/she offer to help by driving some their brood for them? That’s the problem with this whole country, nobody willing to help each other and then when people are desperate, we just throw them to the wind. These poor people are down and out and yes, they should have left the kids and animals behind with another family member or maybe the father should have gone out alone for the job, but what is wrong with the “family” that called this in????

    • danielle

      i agree with u

  • danielle

    whoever tipped the cops off is a jerk. they did wht they had to do . if they had tried to squeeze all 7kids up front they would had gotten pulled over for tht to so they were screwed either way. yes i understand the consequences but there was an adult present.all they were doing is trying to find a job. tht is more than we can say about 1/2 of america on foodstamps. i mean damn give the working man a break already. i pray they get their kids back and charges dropped. godbless

    • arathia

      I agree with you and why didnt they help them instead of costing them their children, their pets and a whole lot of money and time now – sometimes people have to do what they must to survive

      • judy

        Here we go again with the mythological “foodstamps” magic hand outs theory. What makes your judgemetal ass think that these bunch of yokels were not on foodstamps or worse? Think about it.

        • EMILY

          Judy how dare you come some a yokel. What makes you so good? Have you had 7 children and the responsibility to take care of them. There you go again ass u ming something you dont know anything about. I suggest you close your mouth. Dont accuse people of being of food stamps and degrading people just to make yourself look better. Get a life lo oo ser.

          • http://yahoo Guadloupe

            Have they not heard of Birth Control, free pills a PPHD. Must be illegal (wetbacks) white trash or negroes. Oh I forgot, they should have gone to Washington,DC: The Dictator would have welcomed them and given them all those yummy chitlins and collard greens.

    • Chris

      So you are justifying risking the lives of human beings (especially children)? That was a stupid decision at jump street. God forbid a family member actually make a good decision and try to save/protect those kids (and the cats to a lesser extent). So what was the adult in the back of the van going to do? Make a cell phone call to the cab after some disaster befell one of them? Yes, I agree a good job on left coast could be very nice, but not if you end up with a hospitalized or dead child on the trip. There has to be a mature system of prioritizing here with regards to the adults, and that never transpired on any level.

    • G

      I agree too. Maybe it wasn’t a good decision, but their options were limited and they were trying to get to a better place. How terrible that they are now in a worse situation. Perhaps the system could find a way to help rather than punish them!

  • royalfuzziness

    Daddy should have made arrangements to leave the kids with mom and the relatives,then he could have gone to CA, by himself to checkout the job prospects and if he found a job. When he got settled then send for mom and the kids. Remember it’s easier to take care of 1, then it is to go running across country with your whole family in tow,not even knowing if there will even be a job waiting for you when you get there. They were trying to do the right thing looking for work,they just went about it in the wrong way.


    The animal shelter that took the 18 cats is a “high-kill” shelter. The cats will be held for 4 days and then, at their discretion, will be either held for adoption, or euthanized. The family would have to pay an impounding fee to get them back. What a sad holiday season that family will have. The whistle blower was not trying to help them, just thwart their move.

  • Sarah

    The family member could have helped them, yes. They all went about it the wrong way, but at least all the kids are alive and okay. If the got carbon monoxide poisoning the parenting wouldn’t of known until they made a stop and the kids could have died. I think it would be alot worse for them loosing five of their four kinds because they made a stupid decision. So they might be in jail but their kids are safe. And hopefuuly they will get thier kids back.

  • diane

    Oh, if this family had been the Joads in the 1930’s they would have had far less trouble.

    • Amanda Hebert

      Well if the Joads tried moving to CA today, they would have been arrested just like this family.

  • Dana

    The parents should not be arrested or charged; we as a nation should be helping those who have lost their homes because the cost of living has skyrocketed while pay remains subpar & thousands have lost their jobs… Either help this family move back into their home or help them move to where the parents can find work but don’t persecute them for trying to do what was best for their family in the circumstances that this world has found so many to be in. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do do help yourself & it seems like that is the case in this sitution. It angers me so much that so many are struggling while banks/wallstreet & ceo’s pocket off the backs of those losing everything!!!

    • Amanda Hebert

      You are 1000% correct. Instead of giving bailout money to big banks, and corporations, we should be helpng families like these put their lives back together.

  • Amanda Hebert

    With family like that who needs frenemies? If a “concerned family menber” really is the person who turned them in– SHAME ON THEM. Why didn’t they step up to help the family in the first place.

    As for the cats- now they are in a high kill shelter that only holds cats 4 days before KILLING them– POOR CATS.

    The parents are now charged as felons and the kids are in foster care– WAY TO GO COPS!!!!

    Never mind about the thieves, drug dealers, bank robbers, child molesters or rapists out there– not to mention drug dealers. Let’s CHARGE those parents for letting their kids ride in the back of an enclosed truck!

    Has anyone ever stopped to think that the eldest kid probably had a cell phone to call the parents and the kids probably had blankets and pillows to help keep them comfortable?

    As far as danger, anytime you get on the roads, with all the people texting and whatever, you are living dangerously no matter where you are riding.

  • Pam

    I understand what the parents did was wrong but what the family member did was even worst. If you are that truly concerned offer some assistance. And as for the kids being a care being considered “a safe option” this is entirely wrong as well. As a product of the child care system, I know first hand that most of these foster parents have no true regard for the children, they are in it for the money. They make you feel uncomfortable and hold resentment that you are in their life, in their home. Shame on all parties involved!

  • TMH84

    “…were taken into custody after an anonymous tip was called in to an Indiana State Police station by a concerned family member, letting them know the group was HEADING THEIR WAY from Pennsylvania.”
    SO, this “family member” decided to just call the cops and get rid of the whole family (jail, child services, animal shelter) than to actually help them when they got there. Guess they figured they’d just take care of the problem another way. Nice family…sorry mf’s!!!

  • TMH84

    “…were taken into custody after an anonymous tip was called in to an Indiana State Police station by a concerned family member, letting them know the group was HEADING THEIR WAY from Pennsylvania.”
    SO, this “family member” decided to just call the cops and get rid of the whole family (jail, child services, animal shelter) than to actually help them when they got there. Guess they figured they’d just take care of the problem another way. Nice family…sorry mf’s!!!

  • BR

    On board with most of the people here. The process was misguided, and they seem to have a ton of animals, *but* they did care enough to pack up all the cats with their family and were seeking work! The intentions were good. I feel they must have been in a desperate situation and likely had no funds to fly the family and hire movers. Driving kids in the back of the van isn’t abusive, or even neglectful, and I am someone who tends to be pretty critical of parenting. They likely were just out of options.
    And yes, the family member who turned them in is absolutely awful. It’s tragic that these kids are in the system now, the parents are in jail, and the cats are likely in a kill shelter.

  • http://webpronews.com jlong

    I found him at offendex.com

  • lynda

    I work in a bar and have people there who brag about the link card and and you have a familey and a man trying to do the right looking for work Im lost here. He maybe made a mistake but common hes doing his best

  • jennifer

    maybe the relative that snitched on him should have tried to lend a helping hand to their family instead of just getting all the kids taken into custody. family is really all you have in this world. this economy sucks, there are no jobs, we are all on the brink of chaos. this man was at least trying to keep his family together and go where there was a hint of work to provide for his kids. i probably would have done the same in his situation.

  • nika

    I agree with Jennifer and Lynda

  • Deborah

    I agree with Jennifer. This relative was probably afraid they were coming to his house and didn’t want them there and for that an entire family is pretty much destroyed. Listen closely, “family” member; you don’t realize how easily this could be you next time. Karma is a real bitch.

  • http://www.robincompton.com robin lee

    First of all, let’s give credit to the parents who tried to do something for their own family instead of simpley giving up… Yes, it was cold in the back of that truck and no inside heat. But, how many people recently had no heat, water or basic supplies from Hurricane Sandy ? Our State and Federal folks didn’t really give a crap about people being without power and the comfort of heat at that time period… Yes, there were shelters set up, but was very slow in getting aid to many people… Now, what did people do back in the day during horse & buggy and families moved across this country with a thin cover drapped over a wagon and survived ? The major hazard I saw was those fuel cans sitting in the back of that truck… (That was unwise). However, at least they had blankets, covers and etc… I hope the Judge takes into consideration that this family was down on their luck and was trying to do something to bring themselves up… How many people are homeless now because of this recession ???

  • Jenny Canuck

    Does it occur to anyone that the “concerned relative”
    might have been the adult child in the back of the moving van,
    worrying about the younger kids, the cats, and the jerrycans
    of fuel?

  • lisa b

    When I think of carbon monoxide I think of that type of thing occuriong in homes with gas ranges and a running car in a closed garage. i never knew of the danger of that in the back of a moving van. I really do not think that the parents knew that either. The parents were doing the best that they could. Instead of arresting the parents, law enforcement should have initiated a random act of kindness as the police officer in new york and helped this family. When you have no money and very limited resources you have do the best that you can and this was their best. What would it have hurt the police to rent a van for them to get to california and then provide them some food. Shame on them and why bring this family down in the media and call them stupid. My Prayers and Blessings to the family. How can I reach them to make a contribution to help them?

    • Richard

      Does “doing the best you can do” include taking a risk of burying 5 children and 18 other animals? I don’t think so. Also, the police are not a welfare agency.

    • Jam

      You are so right and have an amazing soul. If our society were filled with people like you we would not be in the situation we are in! God bless you….

  • John

    “The Grapes of Wrath” all over again.

  • Sara Skelly

    It cost a lot of money to pack up, move and rent a “uhaul” to drive crossc ountry. PLUS how much money is this family wasting on these 18 cats. Its not like they have to 2 cats they have 18 cats, all of which cost money to feed, litter, vet bills, including where did they get the money for 18 cat carriers. I am an animal lover but to be poor and take in 18 cats is not where this POOR faimlies priorities should be! I feel bad for the children and the animals who may have been exposed to carbon monoxide (the silent killer) The father has already been reported of negect. I cannot feel sorry for the parents.

    • Patricia Freyer

      My first impression was he is useing those cats for food.They might want to check with the neighbors and surrounding area for missing cats.

    • kat

      what do u want from these people? dang catz r already more important than the kids but, it’s an excuse for the parents bull.

  • P.Freyer

    Did those cats have something to do with his job? I dont get this picture! purr meow

    • kat

      whatz up with this pict? job, no job excuse or what?put the catz in a shelter and take care of your children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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