Adopted Black Children Enslaved By White Couple, Forced To Sleep On Floor And Confined For 12 Hours

by Gee NY

Donald Ray Lantz and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather, a white couple from West Virginia, are facing severe charges for allegedly enslaving their adopted Black children, forcing them to sleep on the floor and confining them for 12 hours at a time.

Lantz, 63, and Whitefeather, 62, were initially arrested in October 2023. They now face additional charges, including human trafficking of a minor child, using minors in forced labor, and child endangerment through neglect, as reported by West Virginia MetroNews.

Both pleaded not guilty to these charges in Kanawha County on Tuesday.

The arrests followed concerns raised by a neighbor to Child Protective Services, who claimed to have seen the teenagers confined in a shed at the couple’s home in Sissonville.

Other neighbors corroborated these allegations, stating that the children were forced to do farm work and were not allowed inside the house.

Deputies responding to the scene reported appalling conditions, noting that the children were locked in the shed without proper sanitation or running water.

The indictment revealed that the children were forced to sleep on the floor and had been confined for approximately 12 hours at a time.

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

The court proceedings highlighted severe human rights violations, with a particular emphasis on 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.

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