A couple has been sentenced to a combined 50 years in federal prison for producing and distributing sexually explicit images of a 13-year-old relative, officials announced.
Edward Lee Wheeler, 27, of Russell Springs, KY, pleaded guilty in September 2021 to the production of child pornography and was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in federal prison, according to the United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Texas.
His wife, Jessica Roxanna Wheeler, 35, of Lubbock, Texas, pleaded guilty in October 2020 to receipt and distribution of child pornography and was sentenced in November 2021 to 20 years in federal prison, the attorney’s office said.
Law enforcement officials launched an investigation in June 2020 when a family member reportedly called to report he had found Facebook messages between the Wheelers discussing sexual acts with a 13-year-old relative.
The couple admitted that Edward Wheeler gave the child over-the-counter supplements that he called “enhancers,” which he claimed were activated through sexual activity, the attorney’s office said.
He also allegedly said he needed sexually explicit images of the child to track the “enhancer’s” performance.
Jessica Wheeler took the photos and sent them to her husband, the attorney’s office added.
Edward Wheeler engaged in sexual acts with the child, the attorney’s office said, citing Facebook messages.
At one point, the couple allegedly discussed impregnating the child so that they could sell the infant to a European agency that would conduct medical testing on the baby. That agency does not exist.
Edward Wheeler told his wife that the agency had offered him $42 billion and Jessica Wheeler told the child they were considering going through with the deal, according to the attorney’s office.
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors said that the couple knew the “enhancers” did not work and the “agency” did not exist but concocted the elaborate fantasy as an “escape from reality.”
The child is currently living out of state and the attorney’s office says she is receiving psychological care.
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