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Friday, July 5, 2024

CONTENT WARNING: These (adopted) children "were used basically as slaves"

WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT (This is a crime against humanity and human trafficking called adoption)

White Couple Accused of Targeting Black Adoptees for Forced Labor Pleads Not Guilty

"They were used basically as slaves," a judge said when discussing the allegations in a recent indictment against the couple, who were first arrested last year.

A white couple in West Virginia is behind bars once again on charges of targeting Black adoptees for forced labor.

Donald Lantz and Jeanne Whitefeather, a couple in their 60s from Sissonville, West Virginia, were first arrested last October when two of their adopted children were found locked in a barn.  The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office said at the time that deputies had received a 911 call expressing concern for the children’s wellbeing.

Per the department, responding deputies "had to force entry into the barn," at which point they found "a juvenile male and juvenile female locked inside."  The children had no access to running water or a restroom; furthermore, deputies said, they had been "obviously deprived of adequate hygienic care and food."  In the main house, deputies found another child "locked inside alone" in an area described as "an unprotected loft."

Lantz and Whitefeater were both arrested in October on felony-level gross child neglect charges.  They were later released after posting bond, though new charges revealed this May resulted in them returning to jail.  As reported by regional outlet WCHS, a 16-count indictment from a grand jury saw Lantz and Whitefeather being hit with additional charges including human trafficking of a minor child, civil rights violations, use of a minor in forced labor, and more. 

As for the original $400,000 bond, questions have been raised about the origin of the funds, with prosecutors alleging it was "contraband" connected to alleged human trafficking offenses.  Also called into question was the couple’s previous claims of having no income or assets.   On that issue, prosecutors have pointed to the selling of a property in Washington state for a reported $725,000 mere days prior to the original bonds being posted.  The couple is also said to have later sold the home where they were arrested in October.

This month, per WV MetroNews, Lantz and Whitefeather were arraigned on the new charges and returned to jail. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges, while their bonds have been raised to $500,000 each.  Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers, quoted in the article, stated that the recent indictment against the couple alleges that the children "were used basically as slaves."

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