SUMMITVILLE, Ind. —
The owners of a Boone Township farm and their school-age children may have lived in a barn near where as many as 150 animals were found dead and rotting.
Authorities found the carcasses last week on a farm belonging to Daniel and Carrie Ault, on County Road 1700 North near 350 West near Summitville. Roughly 30 more animals who survived were described by investigators as “walking skeletons,” either very thin or emaciated and living among the dead.
When officials investigated a barn nearby, they found a sectioned-off living quarters, complete with recliners, television, bathroom and a kitchen full of food, Madison County Sheriff Ron Richardson said.
“It’s pretty apparent someone was living there,” he said.
The toilet was not working and was filled with human waste, he said, and it also looked like someone was installing a furnace, which he said could have put off dangerous fumes.
The living quarters had two entrances, he said, one of which would have required stepping over “a dead bird and another animal” to use.
Daniel Ault declined to comment.
Indiana Department of Child Services spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland couldn’t say if the children had been removed, but confirmed DCS was involved in the case.
A full report on the case, including Purdue University’s autopsy results on some deceased animals, is expected as early as this week.
Depending on the evidence, charges of child endangerment and animal cruelty are possible, said County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings. He’s waiting on the investigation report to say for sure.
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