PHOENIX -- A father and his two adult sons all pleaded not guilty to animal abuse and elder abuse at their arraignments Wednesday.
Alan and Gregory Stout, both in their 40s, and their father, Alva, 79, were arrested earlier this month after police discovered the body of their mother and wife, Lola Mae, in a 1996 Dodge Ram van. That van was packed to the ceiling with food, feces and other filth, as well as more than a dozen cages containing 12 dogs, 22 cats and a pigeon.
"They were matted, they were under heat stress, they were very emaciated, ill; some of the worst we've seen," Bretta Nelson of the Arizona Humane Society said at the time. All of the cats and three of the dogs had to be euthanized.
According to police, the Stouts were homeless and had been staying in Quartzsite. The men said Lola Mae passed out while they were loading their van to relocate to Phoenix.
Rather than calling 911 and getting her help, the Stouts simply put her in the back of the van, checking on her only once during the two-hour drive. They said Lola Mae was unresponsive at that point, but claimed they did not notice she had died until they arrived in Phoenix.
Police said both Alva and Gregory originally told officers that Lola Mae was fine before they left Quartzsite and had gotten into the van on her own. They later changed their stories, indicating that Lola Mae had collapsed before the family set out across the desert.
According to court paperwork, Gregory was driving, Alan was in the passenger seat and Alva was in a confined area behind the driver's seat.
According to police, Lola Mae, 73, had several medical issues that required specific care.
Having pleaded not guilty to felony abuse charges, all three surviving Stouts are scheduled to be back in court before Commissioner Jeffrey Rueter on Thursday, Sept. 12.