The mother of a missing teen whose disappearance exposed an incestuous child sex ring in Alabama has opened up about her ongoing search for her daughter in a new true crime docuseries, saying the children in her family ‘would have been more safe at the crack house.’
Premiering on Peacock on August 26, Monster in the Shadows explores the theories surrounding the disappearance of Brittney Wood, 19, who went missing after she went to see her uncle Donnie Holland in 2012.
Two days later, Donnie killed himself using a gun that Brittney owned. The teen’s disappearance and her uncle’s death led law enforcement to uncover a twisted sex ring that was led by Donnie and involved three generations of his family.
True crime: The new docuseries Monster in the Shadows focuses on the disappearance of Brittney Wood, 19, who went missing after she went to see her uncle Donnie Holland in 2012
Mystery: Two days after Brittney went missing, Donnie was found in the woods with a bullet in the back of the head. His death was ruled a suicide
‘If you can’t trust your family who can you trust?’ Brittney’s mother, Chessie, asks in the trailer for the three-part series.
Brittney, who left behind a two-year-old daughter, hasn’t been seen since she went to visit Donnie in the Styx River area on May 31, 2012. She was last spotted in a car with her uncle at Tillman’s Corner.
Crime: The case led law enforcement to uncover a twisted child sex ring that was led by Donnie and involved three generations of his family
Donnie’s body was found in the woods with a gunshot in the back of his head a few days later. The death was ruled a suicide.
In the wake of Brittney’s disappearance, eleven people were arrested on charges including rape, sex abuse with children under 12, incest, and sodomy.
The suspects were either members of Brittney’s family or directly associated with them, including her mother, Chessie; her brother, Derek Wood; Nelton ‘Butch’ Morgan; her uncle Dustin Kent; Dustin’s wife, Mendy Kent; her uncle Donnie’s wife, Wendy Holland; James Cumbaa; Randall Scott Wood; and Jennifer Moore.
Detectives believe that Brittney may have gone to visit her uncle to confront him about the sex abuse, but what happened to her on that day remains a mystery.
Brittney’s mother has always maintained her innocence, and for years she has accused her deceased brother-in-law Donnie of killing her daughter.
Missing: Brittney, who left behind a two-year-old daughter, hasn’t been seen since she went to see Donnie in the Styx River area on May 31, 2012
Chessie was charged with two counts of sodomy and sex abuse of a child less than 12, but she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and left court with a misdemeanor.
The upcoming docuseries focuses on the theories surrounding Brittney’s disappearance, including the speculation that she was abused by her family and about to expose the child sex ring.
‘Now, looking back, they would have been more safe at the crack house,’ Chessie says in the trailer for the docuseries, presumably speaking about the child victims of the sex ring.
It is widely thought that Donnie killed Brittney and then himself, but there has also been speculation that she was kidnapped and sold into sex trafficking.
Heartbreaking: Brittney left behind a two-year-old daughter when she disappeared
Crimes: In the wake of Brittney’s disappearance, eleven people were arrested on charges including rape, sex abuse with children under 12, incest, and sodomy
Looking back: In the trailer for the three-part series, Brittney’s mother, Chessie (back, center) say the children in her family ‘would have been more safe at the crack house’
Police were investigating the abuse before Brittney’s disappearance.
Detectives said at the time that Brittney and one of the alleged victims exchanged Facebook messages in which abuse was discussed on May 27, 2012.
After Brittney asked, ‘How are you? Tell me what’s going on. I don’t know what’s true and what you said,’ the victim alleged that they had been raped by Randall, Dustin, and Donnie.
‘I love you, I’m sorry,’ Brittney replied.
The alleged victim wrote more messages to Brittney on May 28 and May 30, but did not receive a response.
Monsters: Donnie ran the child sex ring with his wife, Wendy Holland, before he killed himself
Life behind bars: Wendy was sentenced to 219 years in prison after being convicted of sodomy, sex abuse, and child torture in 2015
Maintaining innocence: Chessie was charged with two counts of sodomy and sex abuse of a child less than 12, but she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and left court with a misdemeanor
Family: Brittney’s brother, Derek Wood (left), was was granted youthful offender status after being charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sodomy. Her uncle Dustin Kent (right) received two separate 17-year prison sentences for sex crimes
In October 2012, a police detective testified in the case against Dustin. The court heard that he raped a relative at the age of 13 in 2008 while her father watched.
According to the detective, the father took the young girl out in his truck claiming they were going to buy a hamster from a pet store.
Instead, they picked up Dustin and drove to an industrial park.
When the car pulled over, Dustin took off her clothes and performed a sex act on her before raping her as her father watched, Sgt. Scott Congleton testified.
‘She kept telling him to stop. He did not,’ the detective said.
Mystery: Detectives believe that Brittney may have gone to visit her uncle to confront him about the sex abuse
Dustin was sentenced to 17 years in prison in November 2015 after already being sentenced to 17 years in another county for sex crimes.
Abuse: It was reported that Brittney (pictured as a child) was sexually abused by her grandmother’s boyfriend when she was a girl
In 2013, AL.com reported that there were at least four victims of the alleged abuse. Officers claimed some of the victims were under the age of 12 when the attacks took place and were related to those arrested.
Lead prosecutor Mobile County Assistant District Attorney Nicki Patterson told the news outlet that suspected victims had been placed in foster care where necessary.
‘Pretty much everyone in this extended family was having sex with one another and having sex with the children,’ Patterson said to WKRG.com at the time.
The case took another turn in 2014 when it was reported that Brittney was raped and abused by her grandmother’s boyfriend when she was a young girl.
The sexual abuse went on for two years until an 11-year-old Brittney accused him of attacking her in 2003.
In the years that followed, a number of Britney’s relatives were sentenced to prison for their involvement in the child sex abuse ring.
Candid: Chessie has opened up about her search for Brittney and her family’s child sex ring in the docuseries that premieres on Peacock on August 26
Plea: ‘My goal has always been to find Brittney Wood,’ Chessie says in the trailer
While her mother left court with a misdemeanor, her brother, Derek, was granted youthful offender status, meaning that his sentencing was withheld from the public.
Derek was initially charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sodomy.
As one of the leaders of the sex ring, Donnie’s wife, Wendy Holland, was sentenced to 219 years in prison after being convicted of sodomy, sex abuse, and child torture in 2015.
It’s been almost a decade since Brittney disappeared, and Chessie is still holding out hope that she will be found.
‘I’d like to find my child,’ she says in the series. ‘My goal has always been to find Brittney Wood.’