Tallassee's top police officer is in shock. "I've never seen this before in my 21 years in law enforcement," Police Chief Jimmy Rodgers admitted.
He was reacting to the arrest of a man and three accomplices now in the Elmore County for what police say is one of the most horrific sexual abuse crimes ever in the history of Elmore County.
According to the Tallassee Police Department, authorities started an investigation into numerous allegations of sexual abuse of children on Monday, April 22. The initial investigation revealed multiple victims suffered abuse - many of the cases started as long as 11 years ago.
Investigators started to question the alleged suspect, 31-year-old Steven Norman Conrad Jr., about the incidents.
Police say Conrad confessed to the abuse of more than 8 children - some of the abuses happened more than once. Conrad is now being held on multiple sexual abuse, rape and sodomy charges in the Elmore County Jail. He's listed on suicide watch.
Authorities have also arrested Conrad's wife, 26-year-old Brandy Jean Conrad as well as 56-year-old Helen Hazel Gantt and 41-year-old Jeffery Mark Ray. Conrad, Gantt and Ray have all been charged with failure to report the sexual abuse of a child. Police say the three had knowledge of the abuse of at least one child and they made no attempt to help the child or report the crime to law enforcement.
Police say all victims in this case are believed to be under the age of 12. Investigators are actively pursuing information that may result in the discovery of additional victims.
Conrad faces more than 80 charges of sexual abuse, rape and sodomy. Four of the eight victims were his own children. Some of the other victims were children of women whom Conrad dated over the years, according to the police chief.
Child Protect, a children's advocacy center in Montgomery, started interviewing some of the older victims in the abuse case Friday morning. The youngest of Conrad's victims was reportedly 3 months old.
Police say some of the alleged abuse took place in Conrad's mobile home on Worthington Circle, three miles west of Tallassee off Highway 14.
Bond has been denied for all four suspects. Conrad is from Florida, but investigators don't know what brought him to Tallassee. As of this writing, court records show he does not have an attorney.
If anyone has information that may be related to this investigation, they are asked to contact the Tallassee Police Department at 334-283-6588.
At this time the Elmore County Department of Human Resources is assisting in the investigation and is working to provide treatment for the victims of this case and their families. Police are asking that anyone, including additional victims or witnesses, please contact police not only to assist in the prosecution efforts, but also to help begin the healing process.
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