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Parents arrested when Indiana cop finds kids traveling as cargo

November 29, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • An Indiana couple moving to California kept five children and 18 cats in the back of this truck for the cross-country drive.
An Indiana couple moving to California kept five children and 18 cats in… (Indiana State Police )

A Pennsylvania couple faces child neglect charges after police said they tried to drive across country with five of their children in the back of a Budget moving truck.

David Detzen, 41, and his wife, Rebecca, 40, were arrested in New Castle, Ind., Wednesday night after a relative called Indiana State Police anonymously, warning authorities that the family would be crossing their state en route to California for a job opportunity.

About 10 p.m., the truck pulled into a Flying J truck stop in New Castle, where state Trooper Nick Razor approached. Two of the Detzens' children were in the truck’s cab. The parents confirmed that five more were in back, Razor said in his police report.

When he rolled up the back door, he found them. Two  children were sitting on boxes near the front of the space. Three more were closer to the door.  The Detzens' 18-year-old daughter was in the back, along with four other children ranging from 9 to 17. 

David Detzen told police “he knew it was wrong for the kids to be in the back,” Sgt. John Bowling said.

Detzen told police he’d lost his job and was heading for a job prospect in San Bernardino. They didn’t have a car, so he loaded everyone into the truck.

The family had been on the move for five or six hours when Razor found them, Bowling said.

“It was really cold in the back of the truck,” Razor said in his report.

There was no heat, but the kids had sleeping bags. They also had two cellphones so they could call their parents up front, Bowling said.

Also riding in the cargo area:  18 cats in soiled crates.

There was also a gas can with some gasoline still in it, Bowling said.

David and Rebecca Detzen were arrested and booked on suspicion of four felony counts of neglect of a dependent. The children were turned over to child protective services and the cats were claimed by Henry County Animal Control.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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