WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - A couple made their first court appearance on accusations they sold their children on Friday.
A federal grand jury charged Connie and Ronnie McCall with selling their daughters for creating child porn. The investigation actually began last summer when officials began looking into child neglect charges. They started questioning the girls and that's what ultimately led to the indictments.
Investigators tell us four girls lived with their parents, Ronnie and Connie McCall, in a trailer park in Johnson City.
District Attorney Tony Clark says Johnson City Police first discovered deplorable conditions inside the family's home in the summer of 2012 and arrested them for neglect. "When the youngest child was taken in, several if not all of her teeth were rotted. There was animal waste inside the home," he said.
As the kids, ages 5, 12, 15, and 17 were questioned, Clark tells us they realized the parents were selling the oldest three for sex. 'There was money that changed hands between the individuals that were taking pictures and the parents," he said. "The children said that they had been taken to various locations and performing sex acts with an adult."
The kids had already been removed from the home. The investigation was turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office and the FBI.
Clark says the McCalls would take their children to South Carolina and a Washington County, Tennessee address where they would be filmed having sex with an adult.
Their former neighbor Marsha Pierce remembers the family well. "The children were at my house constantly," she told us.
Pierce says she knew something was wrong, but never expected it to be this bad. "I could tell that they kept themselves and their dad was a hard worker, but I would not expect that, no," she said.
Investigators believe the McCalls had been selling their girls for sex for at least a couple of years.
Ronnie McCall has already entered a plea of not guilty in federal court. Connie McCall is set to be arraigned on October 23.
Their children are said to be recovering and doing well in a foster home.
Tony Clark tells us the Washington County, Tennessee man he believes had sexual contact with the girls and filmed the encounters committed suicide.