CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Sissonville couple accused of allegedly locking children up in a barn and forcing them to work are back behind bars and on a bond that’s more than double what they had already been given– now set at $500,000 each.

Donald Ray Lantz, 63, and Jeanne Kay Whitefeather, 62, appeared in Kanawha County court Tuesday pleading not guilty to over a dozen new charges against them, including human trafficking of a minor child, use of a minor child in forced labor, and child neglect creating substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death.

Kanawha County Circuit Judge Maryclaire Akers said she believed the couple’s previous bond of $200,000 was not enough.

“Along with human trafficking and neglect was serious risk of bodily injuries or death, I don’t find the bond to be sufficient,” Akers said.

Lantz and Whitefeather were first arrested last October after a wellness check led to the discovery of two of the couple’s five adopted children living in deplorable conditions locked in a shed on the Sissonville property on Cheyanne Lane.

The indictment also alleges human rights violations, alleging the adopted children, who were black, were specifically targeted by the couple and forced to work because of their race.

Akers said it’s an indictment she’s never seen before during her time as a judge.

“It alleges human trafficking, human rights violations, the use of forced labor,” Akers said. “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.”

This comes after concerns from Kanawha County prosecutors that their original cash bonds were obtained through trafficking profits after the couple was able to acquire the $400,000 bond money for their release from jail in February.

Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Christopher Krivonyak had called the money posted to secure the couple’s release “contraband directly or indirectly used or intended for use” to violate human trafficking laws.

After their arrest last fall, Lantz and Whitefeather had indicated that they had no income or assets, bringing into question where they had acquired the money for the bond from.

Krivonyak stated that the couple sold an 80-acre ranch in Tonasket, Washington for $725,000 on Feb. 2. Whitefeather’s brother, Marcus Hughes posted two $200,000 bonds to release the couple from the South Central Regional Jail three days later.

On March 28, Krivonyak noted that they had sold the Sissonville home where they were arrested for $295,000.

Prosecutors say that even if their bond money came from a legitimate source, it’s intended use was human trafficking and forced labor.

The couple’s money still remains in the custody of the Kanawha County Circuit Court Clerk’s office. Krivonyak believes it should be transferred over to a trust fund for the children.

In a previous statement made to the court, Whitefeather alleged that the barn where the 14 and 16 year old were found locked in was a “teenage clubhouse” and that they were not locked inside.

“Neighbors also reported that the children were forced to perform farm labor and were not permitted inside the residence,” the filing stated.

Deputies said they found the two teenagers locked in the shed with only a small RV porta-potty and no running water.

The 16-year-old girl told deputies they had been locked in the building for approximately 12 hours and were last given food around 6:00 a.m. that day.

The children also said they were forced to sleep on the concrete floor of the shed without any mattress or padding.

Court documents stated that the 14-year-old boy had “open sores on his bare feet,” and that the children were dirty and smelled of body odor.

In addition, deputies said they found a 9-year-old girl inside the main home, and three hours from when law enforcement first arrived, Lantz came home with an 11-year-old boy.

Whitefeather came home about an hour after that and led deputies to a 6-year-old girl who had been with acquaintances from the couple’s church.

A trial for the couple is set for Sept. 9.

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