Parents charged with child neglect tell their story

Couple says job losses hit family hard
Posted at 3:43 PM, Dec 26, 2016

The parents of five children found living in a car at a Walmart are speaking out for the first time.

They bonded out of jail thanks to an anonymous donor.

At this hour, the children remain in foster care. Their parents say they did what they could to keep their family together. The focus now is getting their children back.

“We've been through so much,” said Rikki Barron in an exclusive interview with NewsChannel 5.

There were tears of relief after a church community stepped in to help Rikki and her husband, Donnel.

“We are not going to judge you, we see that you are in need, we are here to help and that meant so much to me,” said Rikki.

On Dec. 17, local deputies found the couple and their five children living in a car at a Walmart in Greenacres.

“The main thing is we did not abandon our family we stuck together,” explained Rikki.

The arrest report revealed the Barron’s five children ages 4 to 14 were underweight. The deputy who found the kids said they were only eating one meal a day and showered at Okeeheelee park.

“What would you say to the deputy who found the car?” Gabrielle Sarann asked Rikki. She replied, “Thank you for helping.” Donnel added, “To the deputy, I told him you have a good heart.”

The couple told us their lives spiraled downward after losing their jobs and Treasure Coast home. “We fell on tough times that's it,” said Donell. “We try to do the best we can to keep our children together while we go through tough times.”

On Friday, an anonymous donor posted their $2,000 bail. “I am speechless,” said Rikki. “I thank you guys.”

And Pastor Nicholas O’Neal and his West Palm Beach congregation, Gray’s Temple CME Church, are doing what they can to help the couple and their children.

“I’m a little perturbed at the state that they have not had access to their kids when i know of other families that I'm helping who have done worse than this situation.”

A spokewoman for DCF says in these situations parents have visitation, although the couple says they have not seen their kids yet.

Rikki and Donnel say after hitting rock bottom, they’re looking forward to rebuilding their lives. That includes finding jobs and a new home.

Pastor O’Neal encourages anyone who can help employ the couple to please step forward.

To help there’s aGoFundMe page set up.

You can also send a donation to the church to help the couple:

Gray’s Temple CME Church
c/o Barron Family
523 18th St, West Palm Beach, FL 33407