KENNEDYVILLE, Md.- Maryland State Police say the bodies of a father and his two teenage sons have been recovered from a large manure pit on the upper Eastern Shore.
Police said Thursday it is not clear how the three victims became submerged in the manure pit at a large dairy farm where they worked on the 12000 block of Vansant Corner Road in Kennedyville. They were tentatively identified as 48-year-old Glen W. Nolt, of Peach Bottom, Pa., and his sons, 18-year-old Kelvin R. Nolt and 14-year-old Cleason S. Nolt. Their bodies will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for autopsies to determine the cause of their deaths.
Police say when the three did not come home to milk their dairy cows Wednesday evening, family members became concerned and drove to the farm.
Persons at the farm found a tractor and the victims' pickup truck still running and parked beside the 2-million gallon manure septic pond where the three were believed to have been working. The Kent County Sheriff's Office contacted Maryland State Police and requested that state police criminal investigators assume the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of the three. State police from the Centreville Barrack and the Kent Bureau of Investigation remain on the scene and are continuing the investigation.
According to police, evidence from the scene indicates the three may have been working with an auger at the manure pit. Investigators said the victims came to the farm each day and pumped liquid manure through large augers that sprayed the manure onto the ground where it was dried before being spread on other farm fields.
Troopers said the manure pit is 150 feet by 300 feet and is 20 feet deep, with steep sloping sides. Vacuum trucks from a nearby farm were called in and began removing the manure from the pit as rescue personnel searched for the three. Multiple trucks responded to spread the manure on fields throughout the night.
The body of the first victim, believed to be the father, was found submerged in the manure pit about 1:15 a.m. Thursday. The bodies of his sons were found submerged in the pit, one at about 4 a.m., and the other at 5:45 a.m. Thursday.
Investigators said they are unsure at this time as to how all three victims became submerged in the manure pit. Other individuals working on the farm Wednesday afternoon have been interviewed, but troopers said no witnesses to what happened have been located.
At this time there is no evidence of foul play, police said.
Thomas Clark, who runs a nearby farm, said there is a lot that can go wrong when working on a farm.
"It's awful but things around farms happen and if people don't take care of business, things are going to happen," Clark said. "Around farms it's just like any other industry. It has its pitfalls."
The Nolt's were known for doing their own custom work pumping out manure pits. Jordan Clark of Chestertown was shocked to learn about their deaths. He said these kind of accidents are rare.
"Not too many crazy things like that happen around here," Clark said.
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