Court stops eviction after furnishings, belongings thrown into ditch

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FLORENCE, Ala. - Imagine watching someone taking everything out of your home and throwing it in a roadside ditch. That's what happened to one man this week. Authorities were armed with an eviction notice, and he was told to get out of the home that his father had left him.

WHNT News 19 is Taking Action to get to the bottom of why this happened.

This is how it looked Wednesday afternoon when we got there. The ditch in front of the house Shawn Childers has called home for more than 20 years was filled with furniture, appliances, tools, keepsakes, antiques, everything he owned.

“I come out and they're throwing things in the ditch. Tearing up stuff. Broke the back of the couch. Threw a new action recliner, tore up the TV,” Childers explained.

County tax records confirm Shawn’s home had been sold at a tax sale last year, and deputies were forced to stand by while men working for the new owner emptied the house until a judge contacted the sheriff's office and ordered them to stop. But by then, it was too late.

Shawn inherited the house from his father when he died about a year and a half ago. Both men were entitled to a tax exempt status, but neither of them knew they had to come to the Lauderdale County Courthouse each year to register for it. As a result, the house has been sold for taxes several times, and the matter has been in court twice, with the Childers seeming to prevail each time. In fact, another hearing is scheduled for next week.

The house was sold for less than $600. A friend of Childers talked to the new owner about a month ago.

“I warned (him) about a month ago that there were 3 disabled people, fully disabled people living in the house and two of them were also Indian, half Indian, and that they, none of them had any place to go, nor any money to go anywhere on,” says realtor Dee Hollingsworth.

But that didn't stop the eviction from happening. Deputies told Shawn he could drag his belongings back inside and he could stay there, at least until the matter is heard in court again. WHNT News 19 will be at that hearing and let you know what happens.

We reached out to the new owner but did not hear back from him prior to the newscast.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton confirmed there was an eviction notice, signed by the same judge who ordered the eviction stopped.