BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - Wendy Wood Holland, the 33-year-old aunt of the missing Brittney Wood, appeared in court Thursday. Her trial on child endangerment charges was supposed to be held.
Instead, she was indicted by a grand jury on more sex crime charges: sodomy of a child less than 12, sex abuse of a child less than 12 and sexual torture.
Officials said in August 2012, her arrest was related to the ongoing sex abuse case that resulted in five previous arrests, four of which were also relatives of Brittney.
The Baldwin County District Attorney's Office said so far there are two victims.
Baldwin County Assistant District Attorney Teresa Heinz would not say if the victims were boys or girls, but she said new evidence led to Holland's Nov. 29 arrest.
"This is an ongoing investigation. Anytime we have a child victim, things come out in piecemeal; and that has been the case here," said Heinz.
Officials said would not say if Brittney Wood, who has been missing since May, was a victim of sex abuse.
Authorities said Brittney was last seen May 30 heading to Baldwin County and the Styx River area with her uncle, Donald Holland, Sr., who committed suicide shortly after her disappearance. Donald was the husband of Wendy Holland.
He committed suicide days later.
While her disappearance is a separate investigation, the DA's office said there are connections to the sex crimes investigation.
"Obviously, the same people are involved. It is a family situation. Bits and pieces are connected, and bits and pieces are separate," said Heinz.
If Holland is able to make bond, she will not be allowed to have contact with the victim or any child under the age of 18.
The other arrests surrounding this investigation include:
- 20-year-old Donald Holland, Jr. on charges on incest, rape, and sex abuse
- relative 21-year-old Derek Wood on charges of second degree rape and sodomy
- relative Dustin Kent charges of rape and sodomy
- relative Randall Scott Wood on charges of second degree sexual abuse, second degree sodomy, and incest
- 48-year-old family friend William Bonny Brownlee on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse
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