The investigation that followed has publicly unraveled what authorities describe as a dark, twisted tale of perversion in the working-class neighborhoods and piney backwoods of coastal Alabama.
Eight of Woods' adult relatives and three family friends have been charged with dozens of felonies in two counties as the alleged members of an incestuous ring that authorities say shared children for group sex.
"She could have corroborated so many things."Wood is presumed dead, but authorities haven't found a trace of her and no one is charged in her disappearance.
Even without Wood to testify, two of her uncles and an older brother already have pleaded guilty to sex charges, and jurors last month convicted a friend of Holland's of multiple sex charges in the first trial.
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.
"I don't know how the judicial system is going to figure it all out because they're not the sharpest tools in the shed."Chessie Wood, accused of having sex with a young female relative, said she had no idea what was going on in the family until after her daughter's disappearance."The No. Authorities are making plea-bargain offers and getting ready for more trials, but questions persist.
Perhaps most troubling, why didn't child welfare workers pursue charges following what prosecutors describe as multiple complaints about sexual abuse within the family going back at least six years?"You have to wonder what wouldn't have happened to these children if something had been done.And Brittney might still be alive."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.Two of Woods's uncles, Dustin Kent and Scott Wood, were arrested within three weeks and later pleaded guilty to rape and sodomy. Last 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.Her gun was there as well, it was the only gun in the car.