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'Off the grid' parents still fighting for custody; Father says son's abuse claims are false

'Off the grid' parents don't get kids back, say son's abuse claims are false
Published: May. 12, 2015 at 2:59 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 26, 2015 at 4:13 AM EDT
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Nicole and Joe Naugler appeared in court Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Nicole and Joe Naugler appeared in court Monday. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Alex Brow (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Alex Brow (Source: WAVE 3 News)

HARDINSBURG, KY (WAVE) - Sheriff's investigators say there's no running water and no electricity. It's called living off the grid, but is it a reason for a Kentucky couple to lose their 10 children? Monday Nicole and Joe Naugler spent hours in court fighting to get custody of their children back.

The family lives on a plot of land in Breckinridge County.

Last week, police arrested Nicole Naugler after she confronted a Breckinridge County Sheriff's deputy who was trying to conduct a welfare check for Child Protective Services. On May 6 the children were taken to foster homes.

Joe Naugler said new claims made Monday by his eldest son, who said he was physically, mentally and sexually abused at a young age, are not true.

[PREVIOUS STORY: 'Off-the-grid' couple fights for custody of 10 children]

Joe Naugler said he was focused on his children who were taken away.

"We are sad our children will not be returned to us today, we have nothing to hide," he said.

Despite their prayers outside a courtroom Monday, the Nauglers found out it will be at least one week before they get a chance to get their 10 children back home and they know very little about how the kids are doing.

"We did have a message Saturday morning from where the girls are and they tried to get in touch with us Saturday night," Joe Naugler said. "We were able to talk to the two older boys."

[PREVIOUS STORY: 'Off-grid' couple faces hearing to regain custody of 10 children]

The couple has had no communication with any of their other children after a volatile few days with their neighbors and the Breckinridge County Sheriff's office.

Last week, Nicole Naugler made a dramatic plea to investigators telling them they could shoot her before they could kidnap her son.

Joe Naugler's oldest son, Alex Brow, 19, isn't sympathetic. On Monday he said Nicole is married to someone who abused him.

"He's a very mean man. He likes to feel power and he likes to manipulate people," Brow said of his father. "If it's not his word, it's no one's word."

Some neighbors described Naugler that way after he was charged with menacing. One neighbor said he threatened to pull a gun on her when she said he tried to take water from her property.

Naugler's son said he was removed from the home when he was 4 years old. He said he came back to Kentucky to speak up for his brothers and sisters.

"I am very worried about them," he said, "my care under Joe was very abusive, very physical and very sexual."

Joe Naugler responded to the allegations stating, "We are heartbroken with the way Alex's upbringing away from us and his strained relationship with his mother have affected him."

Brow said coming into the courthouse and seeing his father again was nerve racking.

"I tried not to look at him too much, but when I did, almost shut down," he said.

Joe Naugler said he and his wife allowed officials to go over their property and interview their children multiple times. The children have confirmed they are healthy, happy and the property is sufficient for their needs.

The Nauglers are scheduled to appear back in court on the custody issue Monday, May 18.

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