top of page

Prosecutor Says White Couple Kept Black Adopted Children In Locked Barn & Used Them As Slaves

A white couple from rural West Virginia, Donald Ray Lantz, 63, and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather, 62, are back in custody after a judge revoked their initial bond and raised it to $500,000 each. They are accused of locking their adopted Black children in a barn and forcing them to work. 

The children, aged 14 and 16, were found in deplorable conditions, while a third child, aged 9, was confined to a loft. Lantz and Whitefeather initially posted a $200,000 bond after their October arrest. However, in May, a grand jury indicted them on over a dozen charges, including human trafficking and child neglect, leading to the bond increase.

During a wellness check in October, police discovered two children padlocked in a shed without lights or running water. The children were dirty, malnourished, and had open sores. A third child was found isolated in the loft. Neighbors confirmed the children were forced to perform farm labor and were not allowed inside the house. The couple sold properties worth over $1 million, raising suspicions about the bond money's source, believed to be trafficking profits. The court has since seized these funds.

Whitefeather claimed the barn was a "teenage clubhouse," but neighbors and evidence contradicted her. Prosecutors argued that the couple's initial bonds were likely funded through trafficking. The judge described the case as unparalleled in her career, highlighting allegations of human trafficking, human rights violations, and forced labor based on the children's race. The couple pleaded not guilty to the new charges and remains in jail, unable to meet the increased bond. Their next court appearance is scheduled for September 9.


bottom of page