The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Cops, courts and fires

September 14, 2013

Officials recall 'disgusting' conditions at Summitville farm



The two children were temporarily taken from their parents by child services. In an interview with a family case manager, the daughter confirmed the family had been living on the property.

A health department supervisor also searched a smaller "apartment" on the property. He found 5-gallon buckets full of feces and a pile of waste in the stand-up shower. There was no running water and no sewage system in the unit.

Bell said he remembers seeing toilets overflowing with filth.

"I've been a police officer for years and I've never seen anything like that," Bell said. "It was simply unhealthy. Unclean for both humans and animals."

The Aults couldn't be contacted for comment on this story, but Carrie Ault said in April the conditions of the farm were "exaggerated" and "blown way out of proportion." Daniel Ault said the deaths were not preventable and he didn't have the necessary machinery to dispose of the carcasses.

Bryan Williams, the Aults' attorney, said the children have been returned to the couple and the family has moved to another location. Williams has maintained that the Aults are simply farmers and are not bad people.

"Right now, they're just trying to get back to life and a sense of normalcy," Williams said.

What's next?

Despite the national attention the incident has received, the case was diverted to lower felony courts because the most serious charge against the Aults is a Class D felony. Judge Thomas Clem of Madison Circuit Court 5 recused himself from the case in June due to a conflict. The case will now be decided in Judge Angela Sims' Court 1.

Court 1 has dispositional hearings instead of going straight to a trial setting, and the Aults' hearing is set for Oct. 11. The hearing will likely clarify where Williams and prosecutors stand on the case and will probably determine whether it goes to trial.

Like Jack Molitor on Facebook and follow him @aggiejack4 on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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