Federal judge asks for more information from CPS on Sissonville child neglect case

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. — A federal judge has asked Child Protective Services to provide information about a case of child neglect in Sissonville in a class-action lawsuit.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Eifert said CPS did not “perform an adequate investigation” into the case and must provide the information about it within 14 days.

In her ruling, Eifert said the teens had to “suffer at the hands of their adoptive parents for months.”

Jeanne Whitefeather, 61, and Donald Ray Lantz, 63, both of Sissonville, were charged with felony gross gross child neglect creating a substantial risk of injury after two teenagers were found locked in a shed outside their home on Cheyenne Lane in October 2023. The two were arrested after a neighbor made a child welfare call and Kanawha County deputies responded to the area.

Lantz and Whitefeather both posted $200,000 cash-only bonds earlier this month.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, the responding deputies found the two children in the shed wearing dirty clothes with hardly any food or water. The deputies also said there was a strong odor inside the shed and believed the children hadn’t bathed in a few days. The shed had plywood walls and also did not include any beds on it’s concrete floor.

There was also a third child who was located inside the home by deputies that same day, who said they had to force their way into the home to get to them.

Judge Eifert said the defendants in the case claim the children were not members of the lawsuit when the alleged abuse and neglect occurred and therefore have objected to producing the information. Eifert believes the documents requested from CPS would show that “caseworkers are understaffed and overworked.”