Updated: Thursday, 07 Jun 2012, 6:29 PM CDT Published : Thursday, 07 Jun 2012, 3:33 PM CDT
MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - A missing person report has been filed with the Mobile Police Department for 19-year-old Brittney Wood.
Wood's family said, the last they heard, she was going to visit her uncle near the Styx river area.
"Nobody knew where she was. We started calling her phone, started calling her friends started hunting for her," said Wood's stepmother, Stephanie Hanke.
The family said Wood's last cell phone signal came from around the Styx River area. At least 15 friends and family searched for her around that area Thursday. They've used social networking sites to try to spread the word.
" I don't know if she's okay, I don't know if she's been hurt, if she's been killed...I don't know,"said Wood's father, Wallace Hanke.
She is described as 5'1" with dirty blond hair and blue eyes.
If you have any information on Wood's whereabouts, call Mobile police at 251-625-9201.
Tillmans Corner Teen Missing for a Week (Added: June 07, 2012)
Brittney Wood was last seen more than a week ago. Her parents lead a frantic search to find their daughter.
ROBERTSDALE, Alabama --"Brittney come home. Payton wants you baby. We love you. Please come home to your family."
A mother's plea that so far has not been answered. Family and friends traveled from Tillmans Corner to search the woods near Styx River. "This was the last place her phone was 'pinged'," says her father Wallace Hanke. "They found the signal bouncing off one of these towers and we haven't talked to her in over a week. We need some help finding her."
"You know your child's routine. She has done nothing routine. She always calls me and she ain't called me," says her mother Chessie Wood.
Last Thursday, Brittney Wood told family members she was headed to this house near Styx River to see her uncle Donnie. Donnie Wood returned home near Fairhope on Friday and shot himself. Brittney hasn't been heard from since.
"Her uncle has committed suicide and supposedly he was the last one she was with and so we're worried about that," says Hanke. "I'm hoping to God and I really don't think he would hurt my baby," says Brittney's mother.
Investigators returned to the house searching for her cell phone or any other clues. Neighbor Laura Payne says she saw Brittney at the house sitting in a tree swing. "She had the same body type, the same hair and she just sat there. She didn't move or nothing. She looked over at me and I waved at her and she didn't wave back."
A week later and still no sign of Brittney. Her father hopes maybe she will hear their message, "Anybody in the family get in touch with us and let us know you are okay."
Another strange twist to this story, when Brittney left Tillmans Corner she left on foot for the 40 mile trip to Styx River. Her family is sure someone gave her a ride here and they'd like to talk to that person as well.
Woman's Torso Discovered On Gulf Coast Beach (Added: June 08, 2012)
Hancock County deputies have contacted Mobile Police about a young woman's torso that was discovered on the beach in Bay St. Louis.
Friday 2:30 pm A young woman's torso that washed ashore on Thursday in Bay St. Louis is believed to be a missing woman from New Orleans, according to a report by WDSU-TV.
Investigators from Hancock County, Miss. are on their way to New Orleans to speak with detectives there about the case, Chief Deputy Don Bass told the New Orleans television station.
The torso was discovered with no head, arms or legs around 6pm Thursday on a beach in Bay St. Louis.
Investigators said the young woman appeared to have been stabbed in her chest. She has a jewelry piercing in her navel and two piercings in her chest.
Detectives from Bay St. Louis have been in contact with law enforcement agencies in New Orleans, Lafayette, La. and Mobile regarding missing women between the ages of 15 and 22.
A spokesperson for the Mobile Police Department told WKRG News 5 that the gruesome discovery is not Brittney Wood, 19, who has been missing from Tillmans Corner since last week.
Friday 1:25 pm A spokesperson for the Mobile Police Department says a young woman's torso discovered Thursday on the beach in Bay St. Louis does not appear to be 19 year old Brittney Wood.
Mobile police have been in touch with investigators in Hancock County and Brittney Wood's family, according to the spokesperson.
A family member told WKRG News 5 that the three jewlery piercings identified in the description of the torso do not match Brittney Wood. The teenage mother has a piercing in her navel but not her chest, according to the family member.
Friday 10:00 am Deputies are working to identify a young woman’s torso that was discovered on the beach in Bay St. Louis on Thursday evening.
The torso appears to belong to a white woman between 15 and 22 years old. The woman had a single stab wound to the chest and three jewelry piercings.
An investigator from the Hancock County Sheriff’s office told WKRG News 5 that they have been in touch with Mobile Police regarding 19 year old Brittney Wood of Tillmans Corner who was last seen last week.
Investigators are also aware of a missing 22 year old woman from New Orleans.
Family and friends continued searching for Wood this morning in the Stix River area of Baldwin County where her cell phone was last used.
The torso does near appear to have been in the water long, according to investigators in Hancock County.
WKRG will continue to follow the latest developments on the discovery of the torso and the search for Brittney Wood.
Mobile police continue search for missing 19-year-old Brittney Wood
06/09/2012 4:29 AM
MOBILE, Alabama -- Mobile police were searching Friday for a 19-year-old woman whose family recently reported her missing, said Cpl. Christopher Levy, a department spokesman.
The family of Brittney Wood filed a missing person report on June 2, Levy said. Wood’s family told police that the last time they saw her was May 30.
According to reports from WKRG-TV5, Wood told family members she was headed to a house near Styx River to visit her uncle, Donnie Wood. The family told the station that Donnie Wood returned home near Fairhope on Friday and shot himself. Brittney Wood has not been seen since, the station reported.
According to a narrative on a social network Facebook missing persons section, the last cell phone transmission indicated that Wood was in the Styx River area.
Maj. Anthony Lowery, spokesman for the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday that deputies checked the area around Waterworld Road on Wednesday and Thursday, but found nothing.
“The road runs parallel to Interstate 10 and is a few hundred yards, at best, off the interstate,” he said. “We don’t know if she was with her cell phone or if she passing through on the interstate.”
Lowery said that deputies have not found any witnesses who recall seeing Wood in Baldwin County.
“We don’t have anything to lead us to believe that she’s in Baldwin County,” Lowery said.
Anyone with any information about Wood is asked to call Mobile police at 251-208-7211
Tillman's Corner, AL --Friends and family of Brittney Wood turned to a higher power Monday night for help. They sang Amazing Grace and prayed for the safe return of 19 year old Brittney Wood. Wood has been missing for ten days.
"I'm hurting. I just want my baby to come home. Please, if anybody knows where Brittney is, please let me know, Please", said Chessie Wood, mother of the missing teen.
Brittney's father, Wallace Henke told reporters, "We hadn't heard anything from anywhere and we need somebody out there. Anybody that might know something. No matter how minor it is, please call in".
Brittney's cellphone has been traced back to Styx River. Family members said she was going there to visit her uncle. He committed suicide the day she went missing.
The KlassKids Foundation is launching a search for Brittney on Wednesday. The group plans on going to homes and clubs she may have visited in the last six months. Members say they also have search and cadaver dogs ready to comb wooded areas.
Command Center Set up to Search for Missing Teen Mom
(BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala.) Search efforts for a missing Mobile teenager are now more organized.
A command center was set up Tuesday in the Rosinton community of Baldwin County. That's where family members believe 19 year old Brittney Wood was just before she went missing.
Wood's cell phone signal was traced to the Rosinton Styx River area on May 30th. Search efforts are now being organized by a national search group headed by the Klaas Kids Foundation.
If you would like to volunteer, you need to be 18 years or older and provide proper identification. You can contact the command center at 1-855-Seek Lost. That's 1-855-733-5567. You can show up at the Rosinton Volunteer Fire Department at County Road 64 in Baldwin County. Search teams will begin gathering at 9 am Wednesday.
In less than 36 hours volunteers have cleared a five mile radius of the styx river basin. The last known location Brittney Wood, or at least her cell phone, was tracked.
"The more that we clear the better the chances she's okay." Brittney's mother, Chessie, is confident in the efforts of the Klaaskids Foundation that took over search operations Wednesday. "I am very pleased with their efforts and yes, if they cleared the area, its clear."
By mid afternoon the last of the search crews were pulling away from the command center.
On this the last day of the search, one person very important to Brittney showed up for the first time. Her older brother Derek.
"I love you more than anything. Please come home." Brittney disappeared while Derek Wood was in Mobile Metro Jail. He was released last night. He believes if Brittney is watching she will reach out to him. "I want her to call my cell phone. 382-0362 I love you and miss you. Please call me."
"Him and his sister are only 16 months apart so they have the same friends, run the same places they are like this," says Chessie. "He is Brittney's protector and he feels like he wasn't there when he should have been."
"I'll protect her from anything. That's why I want her to call me. She knows that I'll keep her safe."
Derek describes searching for his sister as "painful". He believes something scared Brittney so badly that she is hiding and afraid. He and everyone hopes she will make that phone call.
Updated: Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 2:21 AM CDT Published : Saturday, 16 Jun 2012, 5:00 PM CDT
GRAND BAY, Ala. (WALA) - Stephanie Hanke is Brittney Wood’s stepmother. She described the 19-year-old as loving and spunky.
Woods has been missing since May 30 when she was supposed to be going to visit her uncle in the Styx River area. Now new evidence has sent the search for the missing teen to Grand Bay.
Meanwhile, Hanke is left with only memories of her stepdaughter and, in a time like this, she’s forced to cling to them.
“We all spent her daughter’s second birthday together, and it was just a great day with the baby eating the cupcake, and just everybody running around," Hanke said. "It was just a great, loving family day.”
But that would be one of their last together. Searches have been going on since that day she disappeared.
She was thought to have been meeting with her uncle who lives near Styx River. But authorities found the man dead in an apparent suicide.
More than two weeks later, with Brittney still missing, things are taking a toll on her family.
“We’re taking it one day at a time," Hanke said. "And until proven otherwise, we have to hope and pray and believe that Brittney is alive and safe. But it is taking an emotional, a spiritual strain on us, physically. Physically we’re exhausted. Financially, it’s draining us. Both households, our lives have stopped to hunt for Brittney.”
New evidence sent that hunt to Grand Bay. According to Hanke, police believe that’s where she was last seen.
Brittney’s family spent much of the day Saturday going door-to-door, talking to folks and handing out flyers. She said people have heard about the missing girl but no one has actually seen her.
Hanke says Brittney is not the type to run away, and she’d never leave her two-year-old daughter Payton like this.
But she’s holding out hope and she has a message for the one who has left a hole in her heart, and the hearts of all of her family.
“Just give us a call and let us know you’re okay, because we’re not going to stop until we find you. We love you, we miss you; your baby needs you," Hanke said. "We’re not going to stop until we find you.”
Woods is described as 5'1" with dirty blond hair and blue eyes.
If you have any information on Wood's whereabouts, call Mobile Police at 251-625-9201.
Updated: Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012, 10:19 PM CDT Published : Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012, 10:03 PM CDT
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Family and friends have been searching for 19-year-old Brittney Wood for nearly a month.
Family members said the teen was last seen on May 30.
Tony Dickey with Disaster and Victim Services said Wood was last seen heading to her uncle's home near Styx River.
That same uncle he said mysteriously committed suicide the day she went missing.
Now, deputies tell us two of Wood's relatives have been arrested on a number of sex crimes stemming from an ongoing investigation.
Deputies said the crimes involve a female juvenile who alerted authorities.
Officials described the case as horrific.
“We don't know if there is any involvement with her as far as her being missing at this point. We’re looking into aspects of that,” said Cpt. Steve Arthur with the BCSO.
On Tuesday, deputies arrested Brittney’s uncle Randall Scott Wood for sex abuse, sodomy, and incest.
Deputies said another relative, Dustin Alton Kent was also charged.
While the details were limited, officials said they believe this is just the tip of the iceberg and expect to make more arrests.
“I think that once our investigation is completed and all the individuals that are implicated in this investigation are brought to arrest, I can give you more details; and you'll understand how serious the crime is,” said Cpt. Arthur.
“The family is devastated just as any family would be to learn that some of their relatives have actually been arrested on charges of this magnitude,” said Tony Dickey.
As for the ongoing search, crews will be going door-to-door Thursday in the Irvington and Grand Bay area to pass out flyers.
Investigators said Wood’s cell phone was last activated in that area.
Updated: Friday, 22 Jun 2012, 10:32 PM CDT Published : Friday, 22 Jun 2012, 3:18 PM CDT
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The mother of missing mom Brittney Wood is reaching out to her daughter. Wood has been missing since May 30.
Chessie Wood said it has been tough on the family. She said she can’t eat or sleep.
"We just miss her and want her to come home," said Wood.
As of Friday, Wood hasn’t seen her daughter in 22 days.
"She was happy as she could be. She wasn't upset at all. She walked out of my yard carrying a blue bag and just i thought she was going to a friend's (house.) That was the last time I saw her,” said Wood.
Brittney has a 2-year-old daughter named Peyton who mom said Brittney would never leave.
"She’s feeding off our grief. She knows she should have seen her mom by now,” said Wood.
There are a lot of questions surrounding Woods disappearance and a lot of speculation. Social media sites have been buzzing.
The day after Wood disappeared, her uncle allegedly committed suicide, and two of her relatives were arrested for sex abuse this week.
Chaplain Tony Dickey with Disaster and Victim Services said the cases are not connected.
"This is a total separate investigation. That is in Baldwin county investigation; it has nothing to do with Brittney at all,” he said. "When it deals with a missing teen, you always have those individuals who traumatize the family," said Dickey.
For every negative comment, there are positive ones.
One friend even made a YouTube video reaching out for help finding her friend.
There are still no answers, but the family is holding out hope and is pleading for a safe return.
"Brittney, honey, you are in no trouble whatsoever. If you believe you may be in some kind of trouble, I’ve done checked it all out. You are not in any trouble. Call me; instant message me; Facebook me or whatever. Just come home or let me know you are safe," said Wood.
Saturday morning the family will be searching again. The Salvation Army has been donating food and water to help the search teams.
If you want to help, there is a fund set up at Compass Bank under Brittney Wood family and search fund.
On Monday, a candle light vigil is also being held at Travis Road Baptist Church.
0692-Mobile,Alabama Brittney Wood case shrouded in mystery, many unanswered questions
The case of missing 19 year old Brittney Wood just took another strange turn, but local police say the arrest of two of her relatives on sex abuse charges is unrelated to her case.
Wood has been missing for almost three weeks, and a national organization KlaasKIDS Foundation even came into town and organized a search near Robertsdale, Alabama, across the bay from the city of Mobile.
It was believed her cell phone signal was detected in that area. Police aren't saying why the search is now focused in the opposite direction, in South Mobile County near Grand Bay, Alabama.
Missing links in the incident appear to be stalling any solution to Wood's whereabouts. The story starts out unusual in that Wood supposedly left her home in West Mobile on foot, headed about 50 miles away to visit her uncle, Donald Holland near Styx River.
It is not clear why she would not have arranged for a ride - or if she did, or whether she hitchhiked or simply got a ride as she walked. It also has not been revealed why she would make the long trip to visit her uncle.
A very unusual aspect of the case is that Donald Holland is said to have shot himself dead on June 1, 2012, the day after Brittney Wood left her home to visit him.
In recent days Ms. Wood's mother continues to plead for Brittney to come home, and police have even said she does not face any charges. If in fact the police are officially saying no charges are pending it could be they suspect an illegal angle to the case.
There are numerous possible scenarios in the Brittney Wood case. Here are just a few, some which seem unlikely:
Brittney Wood arranged for a ride to her uncle's house by someone she barely knew. She made it across the bay but not to her uncle's house. She may have been assaulted and killed in Baldwin County and transported to the Grand Bay area. Or, she and her ride may have made it to her uncle's house and found him not home. In fact he may have been in a nearby city, Fairhope,Alabama that day. Therefore, Brittney and her ride left for the Grand Bay area for unknown reasons where she was killed.
Another possible outcome is Brittney Wood accepted or was forced to ride with a stranger as she was walking, who pretended to take her to her uncles but turned around and headed for another destination, assaulting and killing the teenager. There may have been a struggle and her cell phone was left at the scene or thrown out a car window.
Brittney and ride could have arrived at her uncles where her ride staged the suicide of her uncle and kidnapped and perhaps later killed her.
Some people believe Brittney arrived to her uncles house and he made sexual advances and it got out of control. Beside himself with fear and anger he killed his niece, disposed of her body and later decided to kill himself as well. This scenario seems extremely unlikely because there would have been a struggle and the killing, unplanned would have left behind tons of physical evidence.
There is a drug angle to the story in the minds of a few, but so far drug activity has not been introduced by any party to the case. It is more likely police would have discovered a drug angle almost immediately and the news would have eventually been made public. If a drug deal went bad and Brittney Wood escaped unharmed it would be logical she would want to remain in hiding, fearing charges which the police have said she is not facing.
The fact that the teenager has been missing for three weeks does not provide much hope for a case in which she is found alive. Many would be curious to know if any of her family of friends knows why Brittney was going to visit her uncle. Was she just going to hang out with him?
Yet another possibility is coincidence, that Donald Hollands suicide was unrelated to Brittney and he never even saw her that day or the previous day. Stranger things happen every day. Only Holland's family would know if he had any reasons to kill himself, whether he had shown signs or was having problems about which he spoke.
In this scenario Brittney Wood almost made it to his house. Evidence would point to the person or persons who gave her a ride. It was a short ride to Interstate 10 from her Tillman's Corner home and she may have felt confident she could easily get a ride. So as not to alarm Brittney, her ride followed her directions to her uncle's house but at some point along the way - perhaps near where her cell phone signal was detected, the ride made their move and she was at that point abducted.
Finally, Brittney Wood may have just runaway from it all, and is now afraid to come forward because of what she might face. This would explain why the police have put out the word that she will face no charges.
Did Brittney Wood's Uncle Contribute to Disappearance?
June 25, 2012 05:50 AM EDT
Nineteen-year-old Brittney Wood was last seen on May 30 leaving her mother's home in the direction of her uncle's residence. Donnie Holland, the uncle, committed suicide just two days later by shooting himself. This chain of events has long been target of speculation as the young single mother remains missing with no evidence leading to a positive conclusion. There are now shocking updates in the case that cast a darker shadow over the speculation regarding his potential involvement in the Alabama woman's disappearance.
It's being reported that Donnie Holland was being investigated for sexual abuse at the time of Brittney Wood's disappearance. That's not all; apparently two more of the missing woman's relatives have been charged and arrested with sexual abuse crimes. Her other uncle Randall Scott Wood was arrested for incest, sodomy and other sexual crimes. Another relative by the name of Dustin Alton Kent was arrested on similar charges. Authorities referred to the case as "horrific," and announced that they do not know if the missing Alabama teen had any involvement in the crimes committed.
What's sad is that this is an even deeper investigation with more arrests to come. Police call it the "tip of the iceberg." The brother of Wood claims the belief that she could be scared and in hiding. Is there a possibility that she's either involved with the actual sex crimes or somehow involved with turning in her own family members? If so, it's unlikely a woman of her age, with this being such a high-profile case, is still alive in hiding somewhere. Who knows, though?
Another theory is that the missing Alabama woman was on her way to see her uncle, who murdered her and then disposed of her remains near the Styx River or other location. Her cellular phone was last pinged in this direction, indicating that it was turned off completely. Now, what 19-year-old woman would know to disconnect her phone to avoid triangulation? It's highly unlikely.
This is just a sickening case that paints a stereotypical picture of the backwoods culture in parts of Alabama, and a young woman's disappearance is apparently taking a back-burner.
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Dustin Kent has been arrested for a second time by the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, charged with sex crimes on a second victim.
Kent is the uncle of missing Mobile teen Brittney Wood.
He faces rape, incest and sodomy charges.
His arrest came one day after Wood's brother, Derek, was arrested for rape and sodomy.
In June, another of Wood's uncles was also arrested for sexual abuse, sodomy, and incest.
However, does this sex crime investigation have anything to do with the missing teen?
"She is not the victim in our sex abuse case, and our case has been going on much longer than the missing persons report that was filed with Mobile Police on Brittney Wood," said Major Anthony Lowery with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office.
Wood has been missing since late May. Mobile police continue to list Wood as a missing person.
The investigation into the sex crimes continues.
"Not all the people we're looking at were family members. It's unfortunate but our victims were preyed upon by several different individuals, three of which happen to be related," Lowery said.
Deputies said they anticipate at least two more arrests.
(BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala.) - An uncle of a missing teenager has been arrested and charged with sex crimes.
Dustin Kent was arrested for a second time today on rape, incest and sodomy charges. He was arrested for similar crimes last month.
Brittney's brother, Derek Wood, was arrested Friday on rape and sodomy charges.
Back in June, another uncle, Randall Wood was arrested on charges of sex abuse, sodomy and incest.
The Baldwin County Sheriff's Department says the men were arrested after a family member came forward. They say the alleged crimes happened long before Brittney Wood's disappearance, and have no connection to that case.
"At this time, we're looking at possibly two more arrests, not to say that they're also family members, but once again, keep in mind that our victims are under the age of 16 when the sex acts occurred," says Major Anthony Lowery with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Dept.
The family says Donald Holland, another uncle of Brittney Wood, committed suicide just two days following her disappearance. Brittney was last seen May 30th.
Missing teen Brittney Wood's brother arrested for rape, incest
07/16/2012 5:59 AM
MOBILE, Alabama -- The brother of a young woman missing since May was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree rape, incest and sodomy, according to the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office.
Derek Wood, 21, brother of Brittney Wood, was arrested by Baldwin County sheriff's deputies and is being held on $25,000 bail.
Brittney Wood was last seen on May 30, when she told family members that she was heading to the Styx River area to visit her uncle, Donnie Wood. Donnie Wood later shot himself at his home near Fairhope, according to police.
Derek Wood's arrest followed the arrest of two of his uncles, Randall Wood and Dustin Kent, who were arrested June 19 for incest, sodomy and sexual abuse.
Mobile police are asking the public to send any tips or information regarding Brittney Wood by way of the following telephone numbers: Mobile police, 251-208-7211; CrimeStoppers, 251-208-7000, or by text to 274637 with the keyword CRIME 411.
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Relatives said the search for missing teen Brittney Wood has seen its share of setbacks.
Since the teen’s disappearance on May 30, three family members have been arrested on sex crimes; and according to relatives, a fourth committed suicide the day she vanished.
“We're definitely focused on finding her one way or another,” said Brittney’s stepmother Stephanie Hanke, who spoke to FOX10 with Brittney’s father. “The not knowing is what is killing us.”
Relatives said the teen was last seen heading to visit her uncle, Donald Holland, in the Styx River area.
He was later found dead, due to an apparent suicide.
“We don't know if what happened to Brittney went to the grave with him,” said Hanke.
In the weeks that followed, two of Brittney’s uncles and most recently her own brother, Derek, were arrested and charged with sex crimes, including incest.
Baldwin County deputies maintain Brittney’s disappearance and the sex abuse cases are not related.
“She is not a victim in our sex abuse case, and our case has been going on much longer than the missing person's report that was filed with Mobile Police Department on Brittney wood,” said BCSO Major Anthony Lowery.
Some of Wood's family, however, said they need more than that.
“That’s not a good enough reason for us,” said Hanke. “They cannot explain to us, to convince us that it has nothing to do with it. They have yet to convince us.”
Her family said they want to see justice served for those victims. But in the meantime, they said their focus is, and will remain finding Wood.
“No matter how many more arrests come or don't come or whatever, we still have to find Brittney one way or the other. If nothing else, for closure for her 2-year-old,” she said.
Deputies told FOX10 news all victims involved in the sex abuse case were under the age of 16 at the time.
Authorities said they are expecting to make two more arrests in that case.
Meanwhile, the search for Brittney Wood continues.
If you would like to help you can visit the “The Hometown search for Brittney Wood” on Facebook or klasskids.com
Fourth member of Baldwin County family arrested on sex charges
7/18/2012 3:35 PM
DAPHNE, Alabama --A fourth arrest for alleged sex crimes adds another twist in the wide-ranging investigation into family members of Brittney Wood, a missing 19-year-old.
Donald Holland Jr., 20, of Daphne was arrested by Baldwin County deputies on Tuesday, and charged with second-degree rape, sexual abuse and incest. He was released Wednesday on $20,000 bail.
Holland’s father had been the subject of a sex-crimes investigation before he committed suicide in May, around the same time that he was supposed to be meeting Brittney Wood, his niece, in the Styx River area.
Brittney Wood, the Theodore area mother of a 2-year-old girl, has not been seen since; Mobile police are investigating her case as a missing person.
For more than a month, however, her disappearance has taken a back seat to the arrests of several of her family members. In June, two of her uncles -- Randall Wood and Dustin Kent -- were arrested in Baldwin County on charges of incest, sodomy and sexual abuse.
Kent was arrested again on Monday on the same charges, this time involving another family member, according to Baldwin sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery.
Brittney Wood’s brother, Derek Wood, 21, was arrested on July 13 by Baldwin deputies and booked on charges of second-degree rape and sodomy.
Lowery said Wednesday that the charges against Holland, Kent and both Woods involve victims ages 12 to 16. He said that some victims were family members of the four men.
“The victims’ disclosure led to this arrest as well (as the others),” Lowery said of Holland.
He and Mobile police have said that the cases are not connected to the Brittney Wood disappearance.
Lowery also said that he anticipated further arrests in the sex-abuse investigation, which has spanned more than three months.
Family Offers Reward For Information in Brittany Wood Case
Published: July 18, 2012
MOBILE, Alabama --Seven weeks into the mysterious disappearance of Brittany Wood and still no sign of the 19 year-old mother. Her family is now offering a $1500.00 reward for information leading to her recovery in the hope that someone knows something that will aid in the discovery of Brittany. The reward fund was established at Wells Fargo Bank thanks to the generosity of members of the community.
Persons with information regarding Brittany’s disappearance are encouraged to contact the Mobile Police Department at (251) 208-7211 or the KlaasKIDS Foundation at 855-733-5567 or (251) 348-1562.
Officials: Gun uncle used in suicide was Brittney's
Wood has been missing since May 30, 2012
Updated: Saturday, 21 Jul 2012, 8:49 AM CDT Published : Friday, 20 Jul 2012, 5:38 PM CDT
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News has uncovered new information in the case of missing teenager Brittney wood.
Wood was last seen May 30 heading to Baldwin County and the Styx River area with her uncle, Donald Holland.
Deputies said Holland was found two days later with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on June 1. He died in the hospital June 4.
Investigators confirm the Raven .25-caliber handgun Holland used in the suicide belonged to Wood.
We spoke with Wood’s mother about the discovery.
Chessie Wood said she felt her daughter's disappearance was mysterious since the beginning. However, she is unsure how Holland may have gotten Brittney’s gun.
"We believe we have missed something that is hollering our name, and maybe it was so obvious,” said Chessie.
At first, some relatives thought Brittney may have skipped town.
"We as a family do not see how she had the means to run,” said Chessie. “We’ve covered every friend, every one of them are accounted for. I mean if she had to run because she's that scared, I would really believe that she would have [taken] her daughter with her.
“It just really does not look good that she went missing May 30 and two days later he commits suicide.”
Just a few weeks after her daughter vanished, four family members were arrested and charged with sex crimes, including incest.
A source close to the investigation said Holland was a suspect in that same family sex abuse case and was expected to meet with authorities June 1, about half an hour after he shot himself.
Relatives said they are back to square one and hope a $1,500 reward will lead to more information about the case.
“I mean, I just want an answer. That’s all I want. I want to bring her home whether it be tragically or a happy ending,” said Wood.
Brittney’s relatives told deputies that the teen normally only had two bullets in her gun. FOX10 confirmed the weapon did have just one bullet left, after Holland shot himself..
Uncle of missing teen Brittney Wood faces new sex charges (updated)
08/02/2012 9:38 PM
MOBILE, Alabama -- Mobile police have confirmed that the victim 36-year-old Dustin Alton Kent is accused of raping and sodomizing in Mobile is not his missing 19-year-old niece Brittney Wood.
Kent was arrested Thursday and charged with sex-related crimes in addition to those he already faces in Baldwin County, authorities said.
He is charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy in a Mobile County case and was booked without bail in Mobile County Metro Jail, according to jail records. Kent had been previously charged in Baldwin County with sodomy and sexual abuse of multiple victims, according to Press-Register archives.
Kent's arrest Thursday came as a result of cooperation with Baldwin County investigators, and information gleaned during the investigation by the department's Assaults Unit into Wood's disappearance on May 30, according to Mobile police spokesman Cpl. Christopher Levy.
"His name came up and we started investigated it and determined that we had an incident here in Mobile," Levy said. "Brittney Wood is not the victim here, in this rape and sodomy. It's not her."
According to the charges, Kent's Mobile victim was under the age of 12 at the time of the crime, which was more than three years ago.
Kent is one of four relatives of the missing teen mother who have been charged in an ongoing sexual abuse investigation, and a family friend also faces charges connected to the investigation.
Wood, the mother of a 2-year-old girl, disappeared after saying that she planned to visit her uncle, Donnie Holland, in Baldwin County. Holland shot himself in the head June 1 and died, authorities said. Holland was also under investigation for similar sex crimes at the time of his death, they said.
Anyone who knows Brittney Wood's whereabouts should call Mobile police at 251-208-7211.
Three connected to missing teen Brittney Wood appear in court
08/18/2012 1:44 PM
Alabama -- Missing teen Brittney Wood's brother, cousin and a friend of the family were in Circuit Court Judge Jody Bishop's courtroom on Thursday, according to a report by Fox 10 News.
All are facing sex-crime charges, and during the proceeding, prosecutors said the 3 men had a sexual relationship with an underage Fairhope girl, the report said.
Derek Wood, Donald Holland Jr. and William Brownlee were in the courtroom as a Sheriff's investigator detailed how, in January 2011, the girl "told deputies that in January 2011, Holland touched her inappropriately and had sex with her. She was 12 years old at the time of the alleged incident.
"Prosecutors said the other 2 co-defendants had sex with her as well," the report said.
The judge rescheduled Brownlee's hearing to August 30, and set a bond of $30,000. Wood's bond was set at $20,000. And if they make bond, both men would be required to wear an ankle monitor. Holland, Jr., is currently out on bond.
The hearing was one more step in a bizarre saga that includes multiple investigations across Mobile and Baldwin counties.
Once described as Brittney Wood's "protector," brother Derek Wood, 21, was a spokesperson for their family after his sister's disappearance on May 30, but he was arrested on July 17 and charged with second-degree rape and sodomy.
Brownlee, a friend of the elder Holland, was arrested
on July 22 and charged with second-degree sodomy and sex abuse.
Those arrests followed the June 19 arrest of two of Brittany and Derek's uncles — Randall "Scott" Wood and Dustin Kent. Both were charged with sodomy and sexual abuse, while Scott Wood was also charged with incest.
Kent, 36, would be arrested twice more after that: again by Baldwin County deputies in July -- charged with incest, rape and sexual abuse involving a second victim; and by Mobile police on Aug. 2 -- charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.
Donald Holland, Jr., was arrested on July 17 and charged with rape, sexual abuse and incest. And according to Baldwin County investigators, his father, Donnie Holland, was suspected of similar crimes, but killed himself before he could be questioned or arrested.
Donnie Holland, Brittney Wood's uncle, shot himself on June 1 in an empty lot in the Marlow community in south Baldwin County. Brittney's family maintains that Holland was the last person to see the 19-year-old mother.
It's been more than two months since she went missing, and her family is offering a $1,500 reward for information.
Sex-abuse investigation nets fifth family member of missing teen Brittney Wood
08/22/2012 6:25 PM
BAY MINETTE, Alabama -- A sixth arrest has been made by Baldwin County sheriff’s deputies in conjunction with an ongoing sex-abuse investigation into family members, and one family friend, of missing Mobile teen Brittney Wood.
According to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery, 33-year-old Wendy Wood Holland, of the Marlow community in south Baldwin County, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a class-A misdemeanor.
She was booked into the Baldwin County Correctional Facility, and bail was set at $1,000.
Holland is the sister of Brittney Wood’s mother, Chessie Wood, and wife of Donnie Holland, who killed himself near his home just days after Brittney disappeared on May 30. The 19-year-old mother has not been heard from in nearly three months, and her family maintains that Donnie Holland was the last person to see her prior to her disappearance.
Investigators have previously confirmed that, at the time of his death, Donnie Holland was being investigated as part of the sex-abuse investigation, but had not been interviewed.
Although Lowery said his department won’t comment on the ongoing investigation, he did confirm that Wendy Holland was identified as part of the "progression of the investigation" on Wednesday, then targeted, interviewed and arrested.
Her two grade-school-age children were turned over to the Department of Human Resources on Wednesday, he said.
To date, four members of Holland’s family have been arrested as part of the investigation into sex-abuse charges: her brother Randall "Scott" Wood; brother-in-law Dustin Kent, married to her twin sister Mendy; her stepson Donald Holland Jr.; and her nephew Derek Wood, Brittney Wood’s brother.
William Brownlee, described by family members as a friend of Donnie Holland, was also arrested on charges related to sex crimes.
Dustin Kent also has been arrested by Mobile police on similar charges in Mobile County, although investigators on both sides of the bay continue to maintain that the Brittney Wood missing person case is not related to the ongoing investigation into sex crimes involving her family members.
Updated: Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 4:40 PM CDT Published : Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 10:10 AM CDT
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WALA) - A family friend of missing teenager Brittney Wood was in court Thursday morning. William Brownlee is one of five men arrested for allegedly having sexual relations with an underage Fairhope girl.
Brownlee waived his preliminary hearing. The case is now headed to a grand jury.
The other four suspects are Wood’s brother, cousin, and two uncles. They face the same charge as Brownlee.
Wood’s aunt, Wendy Holland, was arrested last week and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Investigators say she knew about the sexual encounters with several young victims and didn’t report it.
Holland’s husband, Donald, was also a suspect in the case but he shot and killed himself days after Brittney Wood disappeared.
Testimony: Mobile man raped daughter while her father watched
10/22/2012 12:42 PM
MOBILE, Alabama –The uncle of missing Mobile teenager Brittney Wood forced a different relative to have sex four years ago while the victim’s father watched, a police detective testified today.
Sgt. Scott Congleton of the Mobile Police Department, testified at a preliminary hearing in Mobile County District Court that the sexual abuse occurred in 2008 when the girl was 13 years old. Congelton testified that the victim, now 17, did not come forward until the death of her father this summer and a subsequent high-profile search for Wood.
“She was very credible,” Congleton testified.
Mobile County District Judge George Hardesty determined that prosecutors had enough evidence to send first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy charges against Dustin Alton Kent to a grand jury. He allowed Kent 36, to remain free on bail but ordered that he have no contact with the victim or children younger than 16 except for immediate relatives.
Kent also faces sodomy and sexual abuse charges in Baldwin County. Authorities there allege that he molested multiple victims, including the niece from the Mobile County case. Another uncle, Randall Wood, also faces charges in both jurisdictions.
Police have downplayed any connection between the disappearance of Wood and criminal charges that since have been filed against six relatives or family friends. Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson said today that the matter remains under investigation.
Kent’s lawyer, John Beck, said the charges against his client and Wood’s disappearance are unrelated.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation. My client had absolutely no involvement in that case at all,” he said after the hearing.
Congleton recounted the victim’s harrowing account of the 2008 incident. She told investigators that it occurred in September or October of that year, the detective said.
He testified that the girl’s father, Donnie Holland, picked up his daughter and told her they would go to a pet store to buy a hamster. Instead, Congleton said, Holland drove to Kent’s workplace. The three of them then went to Shipyard Road near Rangeline Road off Interstate 10.
They went to an industrial park that never was developed and, Congleton testified, Holland turned onto a dark trail at dusk. During the ride, he testified, the girl had a headache, and Kent was rubbing her head. He started to kiss the girl, but she pulled away, the detective testified.
After the Chevrolet Tahoe came to a stop, Kent took the girl’s clothes off, performed oral sex on her and then raped her, Congleton testified. He said that Holland watched the entire time.
“She kept telling him to stop. He did not,” he testified.
During cross-examination, Congleton testified that the victim confided in the defendant’s sister but no one else. Beck asked about other accusations that the girl made against other family members, but Hardesty ruled that such questions were improper under Alabama’s rape shield law.
In an interview, Beck declined to discuss his line of questioning. “I’m just trying to gather information now,” he said.
Wood, the mother of a 2-year-old girl, disappeared May 30 after saying that she planned to visit her uncle, Donnie Holland, in Baldwin County.
Holland fatally shot himself in the head June 1 in the Styx River area in Baldwin County, authorities said.
At the time of Holland’s death, Congleton testified, he was under investigation for molestation but had not been charged.
Updated: Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 8:34 AM CST Published : Monday, 19 Nov 2012, 11:47 AM CST
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The search for missing teenager Brittney Wood has turned its focus to the Rangeline Road area.
Monday, November 19, volunteers with KlaasKIDS combed a wooded area in Tillman's Corner looking for any sign of the missing 20-year-old.
Stepmother Stephanie Hanke said she is losing hope that Brittney will be found alive. She also said the holidays will be tough, especially for Brittney's young daughter.
"Thanksgiving is in just a few days. Peyton is asking for her mom more and more. It is going to be hard, but we are going to have to make it, for Peyton," Hanke said.
Brad Dennis with KlaasKIDS said volunteers understand the task at hand.
"They understand we are looking for Brittney. But Brittney went missing wearing a tank top, blue jean shorts, and white flip flops. Those are also items we are looking for," said Dennis.
The 10 volunteers searched about 30 acres all with one mission: to find Brittney Wood. Hanke said the location is based on cell phone records of Brittney's late uncle, Donald Holland.
Mysteriously missing since May
Since then, several members of Wood's family have been arrested for sex crimes, including her own brother. Dennis said the search was planned for Monday based on information gathered from an investigation by Mobile Police.
MCSO finished processing human remains crime scene
Updated: Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013, 10:10 PM CST Published : Tuesday, 05 Mar 2013, 11:32 AM CST
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Mobile County Deputies said they have finished processing a crime scene off Dep Busby road, where human remains were discovered late Monday.
Investigators returned in the daylight to recover more skeletal remains.
Officials told FOX10 they do not have a complete skeleton, but do have enough to move forward with their investigation.
“I mean the skull was pretty much in tact the teeth appear to he in good condition,” said Lt. Paul Burch with the Mobile County Sheriffs Office.
Now begins the department’s tough task of identifying the remains.
In recent months, search crews have been seen combing through various wooded areas to find missing persons across South Alabama.
Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said Investigators are now pulling those open missing persons records to find a match.
“Just in mobile county alone we've got five people that we know are missing, and we'll look at all of those five people. And then once we look at those, we'll of course look at the surrounding counties,’ Cochran said.
In the files are things like dental records, DNA, and detailed physical descriptions.
“These readily come to mind that are the most immediate missing. Garland Ford, Jonathan Lions, Randall Parnell, Michael blue Watson, Jeffrey Holloman,” he said.
Other cases like Brittney Wood and Brittany Robinson also come to mind. Both young women vanished from the county without a trace months ago.
Sheriff Cochran told FOX10 the bones found off Dep Busby road are smaller in size. The remains were sent to the University of West Florida.
Brittney Wood's mother arrested, accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl (updated, video)
Raw: Chessie Wood Talks About Her Missing Daughter and Her Arrest on June 27 2013
On her way to Mobile County Metro Jail, Chessie Wood spoke with reporters about her arrest on charges of sodomy and child sex abuse and her missing daughter, Brittney Wood.
Chessie Wood, the 38-year-old mother of missing woman Brittney Wood, has been arrested after deputies say she sexually abused a 10-year-old girl in 2009.
Det. Terri Hall of the Mobile County Sheriff's Office said the department has been investigating Chessie Wood since a now-14-year-old came forward with the allegations in January 2013.
Hall could not discuss specifics about the alleged abuse, emphasizing that Chessie Wood has been charged with two counts of sodomy and one count of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12.
The abuse is believed to have happened only one time, according to investigators.
Hall said the victim came forward while getting help in Mobile and Baldwin counties. The alleged abuse took place in Mobile County.
Chessie Wood, 38, was booked into Mobile County Metro Jail around 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 2013. (Mobile County Sheriff's Office photo)
"Our victim is extremely, extremely matter-of-fact," Hall said. "She's just very courageous in this whole thing, and I know she's telling the truth."
Crying, Chessie Wood proclaimed her innocence as Hall escorted her from an MCSO van to Mobile County Metro Jail around 6:45 p.m.
"I believe that they're just going to arrest everyone in this family, whether they did anything or not," Chessie Wood said, later adding that Derek Wood, her son, is among those who are not guilty of sex abuse.
Chessie Wood also spoke about her daughter, Brittney Wood, who went missing when she was 19 years old in 2012.
"I need to find my daughter, and I can't do it in here," she said. "Please look for my daughter. Don't let this deter anything.
"If she was here, she could clear all this up for me. She would come and tell the truth about everything. Everyone knows my daughter was one of the biggest victims."
Chessie Wood highlighted the fact that she raised five children and repeatedly said she had never touched a child inappropriately.
"I don't even know who the victim's supposed to be," Chessie Wood said. "These kids are so messed up from what the real perpetrators [have] done to them, I don't blame the child. They've been brainwashed for years."
The news broke on the same day Wendy Holland, Brittney Wood's aunt, was released on a reduced bail from Baldwin County Corrections Center. She is facing charges of child endangerment, sodomy of a child less than 12, sexual abuse of a child less than 12 and sexual torture.
Chessie Wood is the sixth of Brittney Wood's family members to be implicated on sex abuse charges since her disappearance on May 30, 2012.
Jail record: Sex abuse suspect released Updated: Thursday, 27 Jun 2013, 1:42 PM CDT Published : Thursday, 27 Jun 2013, 1:42 PM CDT
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WALA) - Jail records show a woman linked to an alleged sex abuse ring in Baldwin County has posted bond and been released.
Wendy Holland is one of the more controversial members of the alleged child sex ring that investigators say involved children, family, and friends of missing mother Brittney Wood.
Judge Jody Bishop recently reduced Holland's bond from $200,000 to $25,000.
The judge decided to lower her bond for two reasons: the prosecution was not ready for Holland's trial in August and the other defendants in this case were granted much lower bonds. Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon filed a motion asking for the bond to be re-instated , but it was denied.
Dixon says that Holland is a danger and had reached out to a victim on numerous occasions and threatened one of their guardians.
Holland is Wood's aunt and the wife of Donald Holland, who was last seen with the missing person.
Officials say Donald Holland committed suicide June 1, 2012, the same day they were to talk to him about a sex crimes investigation.
Five other members of Wood's family are also facing charges in this investigation.
According to Holland's bond agreement, she must wear an ankle monitoring device and have no contact with children under 18 or the victims.
She had been incarcerated since November 29, 2012.