Debbie McKinney was in shocked disbelief about the allegations against her brother, Danial Rinehart, when they were announced last week. But now the shock has worn off and reality has set in.
Anger. Shock. Sadness. Disappointment.
Debbie McKinney feels all these things.
The emotions stem from the alleged actions of her brother, Danial M. Rinehart.
He is accused of fathering four children with his teenage daughter. Three of the children died. Rinehart is charged with second-degree murder of one of the infants because he allegedly didn’t get the boy adequate medical care.
Two of the babies were stuffed inside two coolers on a property in Harrisonville where Rinehart stayed with his daughter. Cass County prosecutors charged the 47-year-old with accessory abandonment of a corpse, endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree statutory rape and incest.
“This has been a nightmare to the entire family,” McKinney said in a telephone interview with The Examiner from her home in Holden.
McKinney was in shocked disbelief about the allegations when they were announced last week. But now the shock has worn off and reality has set in.
Rinehart’s supposed actions have captivated a stunned public. A father impregnated his daughter. She had four children. He delivered the babies along with his wife.
When two of the babies died, they wrapped the bodies in blankets and placed them in coolers. They stored the coolers behind a recreational vehicle near the Harrisonville residence.
Authorities began an investigation only when one of Rinehart’s other daughters told a police officer about the crimes.
“How could anybody do something like this,” she asked.
Rinehart grew up in Blue Springs. He had a stable home live. He had loving parents who didn’t abuse their children, McKinney said. That’s why she and her family can’t understand his alleged actions.
“We were a typical, normal family,” she said. “He didn’t get into trouble when he was a kid.”
Rinehart dropped out of school around the eighth grade but was not considered a juvenile delinquent, McKinney said.
A Cass County judge is supposed to review the case on Thursday.
McKinney said she’s not going follow her brother’s criminal court proceedings. “I don’t want anything to do with him,” she said.
On Saturday, she established a fund to help cover expenses for Rinehart’s four children he had with his wife, Linda Rinehart. Linda was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child. In this case, that child was her daughter who had the children with Danial Rinehart. The fund will also go toward the infants’ funeral expenses. The funeral hasn’t happened yet because authorities haven’t released the remains to the family, she said.
The fund was set up at the Farmers and Commercial Bank in Holden. Its number is 816-850-5516 if anyone wants to donate.
Danial Rinehart stayed at the Country Squire Gardens mobile home community in Independence with his aunt. He stayed at the home on and off for brief times, said Tammy Davis, the park’s manager.
“He wasn’t supposed to be there at all,” said Tammy Davis, the park’s manager, because anyone who stays at a mobile home for more than seven days is supposed to be approved by management. He didn’t get approval.
Davis grew wary of Rinehart when she discovered his alleged treatment of his kids while staying at the park about five years ago.
“We’ve had situations in the past concerning him bringing the children there,” Davis said. “I mean, the children living in an overhead camper on the back of a pickup truck in the winter time.”
Davis called police and social services.
But Davis also learned that Rinehart took the daughter (who had his babies) “everywhere he went,” she said.
Davis talked to Linda Rinehart, her parents, who also lived at the park, and other neighbors at the mobile home park.
“We were concerned about the entire situation because it just didn’t smell right,” Davis said.