“They have been treated like property”
All ten of the children seized from “off grid” parents Joe and Nicole Naugler remain in state custody almost one month after they were first taken, with the Nauglers none the wiser as to when their kids will be returned.
The children were removed from the family by Sheriff’s deputies on May 6 as a result of the Naugler’s “free range” lifestyle on a rural 27 acre property in Breckinridge County, Kentucky.
Judging from the family’s Facebook photos, the children looked perfectly content with their ‘back to basics’ arrangement, but authorities claimed that living and sanitary conditions on the property were dangerous.
Despite substantial media coverage of the case, the children remain in state custody with the parents set to attend another court hearing next week to try and discover their fate.
“The reunification of our family has been delayed another week. We are devastated that the children are not returning home today,” the Nauglers wrote on their Facebook page Wednesday.
“We want the world to know our children, Jacob, Quinten, Abigail, Isaac, Zachary, Olivia, Urijah, Ezra, Lucas, and Mosiah,” the post continues. “Their voices have been kept silent. They are young adults, and tender children, and they have been treated like property. We want their wishes known and respected. We will continue to fight for our family’s rights. We will continue to work very closely with all agencies involved and have complied with every request.”
The couple were last told that their children would remain in state custody on May 24. A GoFundMe campaign in support of the family has raised over $45,000 dollars.
The fact that the living space has no running water or electricity has been cited by officials as a reason for seizing the children. The Nauglers insist that they are working to bring their property up to standard and are being harassed because of their traditional lifestyle.
Authorities claimed the kids were living amongst “trash,” although the parents assert that this was merely part of the process of dismantling and rebuilding structures in order to create a log cabin with proper sanitation.
Before they were seized, the children participated in an educational process called “unschooling,” where the children decide their own curriculum based on the subjects that interest them and what their individual strengths are.
“Usually you can hear children playing but this is the peacefulness of the homestead,” states another post on the family’s Facebook page with an accompanying video of the property.”
Another image of the children fishing is accompanied by the words, “I miss these people. So lost without them.”
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