5 Malnourished Children Found Living In Car In Walmart Parking Lot

Their parents, who were in good health and ran a holistic living blog, were arrested for neglect.

Donell Barron and Rikki Hart

Two adults were arrested Dec. 17 after five neglected children were found living in a blue Toyota parked at a Florida Walmart.

The children, ages 14, 8, 6, 5, and 4, were homeschooled inside their car and had been bathing in park bathrooms and going to the bathroom in a bucket that they kept inside the car. Their father, Donell Barron, 34, told police that they were only fed once a day, mostly a meal of salad and bread. All the children were found to be underweight with bones visibly protruding, and the 14-year-old reportedly weighed a mere, astonishing 50 pounds.

When cops took the children to a McDonald’s for some food, they ate “ravenously,” a sheriff’s report said.

Barron said that he and his children lost their home a year ago, and stayed in hotels until they ran out of money two months ago. But while his children were on the brink of starvation, he and the owner of the car, Rikki Hart, 34, were in good health with clean clothing.

Barron and Hart were arrested on child neglect charges. The children are in custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Local media reported that Hart and Barron ran a blog called Holistically Beautiful, in order “to show the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle and discuss topics which can enrich ones' life.” The blog offered paid doula services, life coaching, and a healthy eating program prepared by them. It even offered a course on how to manage money. 

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