And yet more proof that most child abuse happens by family, or close friends.
A bizarre case of incest is unfolding in Cass County, Kansas, involving a man who allegedly fathered four children with his daughter. Three of those children are now dead and the fourth is in protective custody.
According to the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Danial "Danny" M. Rinehart, 47, began molesting his 19-year-old daughter six years ago. During those years, Rinehart impregnated his daughter on at least four separate occasions. The skeletal remains of two of the children were recently found in coolers on a property in Harrisonville. The third child's skeletal remains are believed to be on an Indian reservation in Oklahoma.
"There have been four pregnancies and four births," Cass County District Attorney Teresa Hensley said at a Friday afternoon press conference. "One child is still alive. That child is in the custody of Division of Children's Services. The other three children are deceased. One of those children was born and died in Oklahoma; the other two children, in an investigation through the sheriff's office, were found in coolers."
The case first came to light on Oct. 3, 2008. Court documents show that on that day one of Rinehart's daughters called police and reported that her father had been having sex with her sister. She went on to describe the birth – the first in 2004 and the last in 2008 – and death of each of the children and instructed police as to where the remains could be found.
On Oct. 15, authorities, assisted by a team of cadaver dogs, conducted a search of a Harrisonville property that Rinehart once owned, but they were unable to locate any remains. The investigation stalled; however, investigators received a break on Jan. 1, when the new property owners found two coolers containing child skeletal remains inside a garage. The investigation continued until Wednesday, when the Cass County Sheriff’s Office announced that they were looking for Rinehart.
The manhunt did not last long, and by Wednesday evening Rinehart was arrested in Missouri. When investigators picked him up, he was in the company of the daughter he has allegedly been molesting and their only surviving child.
Charges against Rinehart include statutory rape, endangering the welfare of a child, one count of second-degree murder, two counts of incest and two counts of accessory abandonment of a corpse.
The second-degree murder charge is related to the death of a baby boy, J.R., that Rinehart had with his daughter on Nov. 17, 2006. Police say that the boy died of pneumonia on Feb. 28, 2007, because Rinehart did not seek medical attention.
A cause of death in the other two cases has not yet been announced.
Rinehart's wife and mother of his other four children, Linda Rinehart, has also been arrested and charged with one count of endangering a child in the first degree. The couple is reportedly separated; however, police believe she was aware of the abuse and was involved in at least one of the births.
Danial Rinehart remains behind bars. His wife is currently free on $10,000 bond.
Photo Credit: Danial and Linda Rinehart: Police file photos.
***Suspects appearing in mug shots are considered innocent until proven guilty***