PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two people in Perry County are behind bars after the Sheriff says they found heinous child exploitation images.
It was a citizen tip that led the sheriff’s office to 47-year-old Brian Mock and 41-year-old Marie Almond at a home on Shelton Street.
Investigator Matt Votaw says that’s where they uncovered images of young children that were so disturbing, it’s hard to talk about.
“Horrendous, unspeakable, just gut-wrenching,” he explained.
A hand full of disturbing images of children around the ages of 5 to 13 years old were uncovered, according to Votaw. However, he suspects that once all of the evidence has been sorted through there could be hundreds of child pornography images.
“There’s a lot of information that’s yet to be uncovered as far as computers and a lot of the SD cards haven’t been dug through yet.”
A laptop, multiple cell phones, SD cards, and thumb drives are among the evidence collected at the home.
Investigators say Mock and Almond had just moved into the house and came to Linden from Memphis about six months ago.
“We don’t have any reason to believe this is part of a large operation crossing other states. But it’s possible,” Votaw explained.
Investigators don’t believe any of the victims are from the area but say the house they were staying in is beside an elementary school and heavily trafficked by kids.
“Within that area, you’ve got the elementary school, middle school, basketball court, playground and just down the street is the city park so I mean it was absolutely a target-rich environment if they wanted to try and go after people in that area,” Votaw explained.
He says the fact that the couple was near a school doesn’t increase their charges, but he believes that’s something that should be looked into for the future.
“They certainly have it in place for sex offenders that are already on the registry, but for people that are not on the registry they are slipping through the cracks or when we have a case like this it would really be nice if we could add some time to the final judgment if there was something we could show that they were doing this around schools and parks.”
Investigator Votaw urges parents to be aware of any electronic activity their kids may have access to and for them to talk to their children at a young age about inappropriate sexual behavior.
“They don’t realize this but there’s people out there that will target them.”
As the investigation continues employees at the Sheriff’s Office are praising the citizens that brought their concerns to law enforcement officials.
“I really want to focus on the fact that not only did we catch these people and get them off the street, but it was because of the people that live in this community that we caught them.”
Both were charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and are being held on a $31,500 bond each at the Perry County jail. More charges are expected.