The search for an Alabama teen who disappeared back in May of 2012 uncovered much more than investigators had ever imagined as her family was involved in an absolutely disgusting secret that they had hidden for years.
Fox 10 reports that 19-year-old Brittney Wood has still not been found, but her family had been involved in a perverted and dark incestuous child sex ring where children were shared for group sex among the family’s members.
In what authorities are calling the largest sex ring ever discovered in Alabama, eight adult family members and three of the family’s friends have been arrested and charged with dozens of felonies across two counties. Authorities also believe Brittany to have been a victim of the abhorrent sex ring as well as the key witness, should they ever be able to find her.
“Brittney could have been huge,” said prosecutor Teresa Heinz. “She could have corroborated so many things.”
Unfortunately, Wood is presumed dead and there hasn’t been a single trace of her to be found and nobody has been charged in her disappearance. However, she was last seen with her uncle Donnie Holland, who is believed to be the leader of the ring, on May 30, 2012. Holland found himself at the center of the investigation and died from a bullet wound, which was later ruled as a suicide.
Two of Wood’s uncles and one of her older brothers have already pleaded guilty to sex crimes, and a friend of Holland’s was convicted by a jury earlier this month in the first trial of the case. Others, including Wood’s mother Chessie, still await trial for their participation in the ring.
Complaints about sexual abuse in the family go back as far as six years, which prosecutors are questioning why child welfare workers didn’t intervene sooner.
“You’d be surprised how many of them had prior allegations. Nothing happened,” said Heinz, an assistant district attorney in Baldwin County. “You have to wonder what wouldn’t have happened to these children if something had been done. And Brittney might still be alive.”
According to Fox 10:
The case is so big officials don’t know exactly how many kids inside and outside the family might have been victimized; estimates range from 11 to 16 children who were as young as 3 or 4 when they were first molested or made to watch adult relatives during drug-fueled orgies. The children of the suspects have all been placed in foster care or with relatives who weren’t involved in the crimes.
Brittney Wood isn’t the alleged victim in any of the cases filed so far; each involved other young people, mostly within her family. But the investigation mushroomed only after she was reported missing and her uncle Donnie had died.
Authorities believe group sex and child sexual abuse went on for three generations in two families that merged when Holland married Wendy Wood, Chessie Woods’ sister.
Wood’s life had been troubled prior to her disappearance, as she was a single mother at age 17 and had been molested as a child by a step-grandfather who was convicted of the crime. Prior to her disappearance, she had been using drugs and carried a gun for personal protection as she bounced around between the homes of her relatives.
The night she disappeared she left west Mobile with Holland and entered into Baldwin County, where he would be found two days later with a bullet wound to the head. He was alive, but the bullet had entered behind his ear, which authorities believed to be odd for a self-inflicted wound. He died several days later after failing to regain consciousness.
Authorities found Wood’s cellphone battery and gun in the vehicle, which was the only gun recovered from the scene. However, Wood had disappeared without a trace and hasn’t been heard from since.
More from Fox 10:
Searches for the teen began and the sex abuse probe picked up, too. Two of Woods’s uncles, Dustin Kent and Scott Wood, were arrested within three weeks and later pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy. Aunts and family friends were eventually charged.
This month, family friend Billy Brownlee, 50, was convicted in Baldwin County on charges of sexually abusing a girl in the Holland family when she was about 12. Brownlee claimed Donnie Holland forced him into the acts against his will, but jurors needed only 20 minutes to return a guilty verdict.
Donnie Holland’s 35-year-old wife, Wendy, is set for trial in early December in what could be a key prosecution. Court records show she has pleaded not guilty, and Heinz said she shows no interest in a plea agreement.
It would be interesting to know if Wood was the one who pulled the trigger and killed her uncle, only to vanish after the fact to avoid prosecution. Hopefully that’s the case, and thankfully this absolutely disgusting group of people will finally be brought to justice for their heinous acts against innocent children.
What do you think the appropriate punishment for them would be?
Courtesy of Mad World News