St. Martin Child Sex Ring Busted

Sheriff Mike Byrd says at least 7 children were sexually abused at 7670 Lexington Drive in St. Martin, the home where Ricky Earls and Christina Earls once lived.

"As our investigation continued into this thing, we believe it started somewhere around Feb. of 06," says Sheriff Mike Byrd, Jackson County.

Authorities were tipped off after receiving a complaint from one of the victims parents.

"They would come over to visit from what we understand, visit the daughter and one thing would lead to another and that's how it got going," says Sheriff Byrd.

Sheriff Byrd says four of the seven children sexually abused were under the age 16.  The other three were over the age of 16, which is the age of consent in the state of Mississippi. The sheriff says the Earls left Mississippi on vacation sometime last week The U.S. Marshal Fugitive Task Force caught the two in San Diego County last night.

"We also have information from San Diego that when they stopped them the female consumed some pills, and they had to take her to the hospital.  They had to pump her stomach out, and she tried to commit suicide," say Sheriff Byrd.

34 year-old Christina Earls was released from the hospital before being taken to jail. The Sheriff's department says the home wasn't the only place the Earls are accused of committing the crimes.

"The vehicle they were in was confiscated for us because we believe at this point the van might have been used in a couple of these crimes," says Sheriff Byrd.

Sheriff Byrd says they're trying to get the couple back to Mississippi where they could face more charges.

"If they fight extradition, we'll have to get a governor's warrant and that's going to take some time, that probably take somewhere over a month to get that done.   We're going to get them back to Mississippi as fast as we can. "

The Earls have four children, two of which were in the vehicle when it was pulled over.

Jackson County investigators say Ricky Earls is charged with one count of exploitation of a child. Christina Earls is charged with one count of sexual battery and one count of exploitation of a child. But, the Sheriff's department says more charges are pending.

If you have any information you're encouraged to call the Sheriff's department (228) 875-6963.