The body of Arizona woman, Lola Mae Stout, was found in a cockroach and spider-infested van on Sunday along with 35 abused and dying animals. The discovery was made by Phoenix police near 1600 W. Papago Street.
Police say when they arrived, 13 dirty, moldy animal carriers were outside the vehicle containing 12 dogs, 22 cats and one pigeon. All the animals were malnourished, abused and neglected, Arizona Humane Society investigators told police. While officers were at the scene, one dog suffered a seizure, another had labored breathing and one cat died, KPHO reports.
According to Phoenix police, there was an area in the rear passenger compartment where the woman’s body was surrounded by the animal carriers and boxes, and there was fecal matter inside the vehicle.
“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 told reporters. Based on their investigation, they stated it is highly likely many of the animals, if not all, will have to be euthanized, per KPHO.
In an update, AHS spokeswoman Bretta Nelson said none of the cats survived and three dogs had already died.
Phoenix police said they contacted the woman's sons, Alan, 42, and Gregory Stout, 44, along with Alva Stout, 79, who provided conflicting statements.
Officers said they learned Gregory Stout was driving the vehicle. The sons told officers their mother died on a trip to Quartzsite, so they put her body in the van and drove back to Phoenix.
However, Alva Stout, 79, said Lola Mae Stout had last been alive in Quartzsite when she got into the van, but they found her dead when they arrived in Phoenix. He later stated that the woman had collapsed in Quartzsite and they loaded her into the van and drove to the area of 1600 W. Papago St, a location “where they intended to release their cats, more than 20, into the neighborhood,” the court document stated.
Police said they learned Lola Mae Stout had prior medical conditions that required specific medical care, including prior strokes, high blood pressure, goiter and schizophrenia, KPHO reports.
All three men were booked into jail on 35 counts of animal abuse and mistreatment. Police said additional charges in the woman's death are possible, according to SFGate.com.