Alva Stout (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Alan Stout (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Gregory Stout (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Phoenix police are investigating the death of an Arizona woman whose body was found in a cockroach and spider-infested van carrying 35 animals.
Lola Mae Stout was pronounced dead shortly before 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of 1600 W. Papago St.
When police arrived, they saw 13 animal carriers outside the vehicle containing 12 dogs, 22 cats and one pigeon. The carriers were described as dirty and moldy. While officers were at the scene, one dog suffered a seizure, another had labored breathing and one cat died.
Arizona Humane Society investigators told officers the animals were all malnourished, abused and neglected. The animals were emaciated, dehydrated, bug infested and bloated, with matted hair or hair loss, ear and ringworm infections and eye and nose discharges, AHS investigators said.
Based on their investigation, it is highly likely many of the animals, if not all, will have to be destroyed, investigators said.
"Very, very bad case," said AHS spokeswoman Bretta Nelson. "One of the worse I have seen in my 2 1/2 years." Nelson said in an update that none of the cats survived and three dogs died.
Officers photographed each animal before they were removed from the vehicle. Police said there was an area in the rear passenger compartment where the victim had been placed, surrounded with animal carriers and boxes. Police said fecal matter was observed inside the vehicle.
Police contacted the victims' two sons, Alan and Gregory Stout, along with Alva Stout.
Alan Stout, 42, told officers the family had been in Quartzsite on Sunday morning loading the van when his mother collapsed, according to a probable cause statement. He said Lola Mae Stout was placed in the rear passenger compartment of the vehicle and driven to Phoenix.
Gregory Stout, 44, backed up the claim, but told police they stopped at a gas station in Quartzsite for a drink and then continued on to Phoenix, the court document stated.
Alva Stout, 79, also gave conflicting accounts. He said Lola Mae Stout had last been alive in Quartzsite when she got into the van, but when they arrived in Phoenix, they found her dead. The second story he provided was that the victim had collapsed in Quartzsite and they loaded her into the van and drove to the area of 1600 W. Papago St., where they intended to release their cats, more than 20, into the neighborhood, the court document stated.
Officers said they learned Gregory Stout was driving the vehicle, Alan Stout was his front-seat passenger and Alva Stout was seated in the rear in a confined space, with the victim sitting to his right.
Police said they learned the victim had prior medical conditions which required specific medical care, including prior strokes, high blood pressure, goiter and schizophrenia.
All three men were booked into jail on 35 counts of animal abuse and mistreatment.
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