An investigation that began in 2014 into an alleged sex-for-sale case has finally resulted in an arrest. 48-year-old Linda Ehle, a resident of Coldwater, is now behind bars for what police say is a clear case of child abuse. And if what they’re saying is true, then this woman is facing some very serious legal ramifications for her actions.
According to information released by the Michigan State Police, Ehle was in the process of attempting to arrange a sexual encounter between two separate men and her underaged daughter. What distinguishes this case from many others like it, however, is the fact that the girl in question is apparently both mentally and physically handicapped.
One of the two men with which Ehle was communicating in an effort to set up the sex-for-sale encounter is already behind bars. Shane Lee Scott, currently serving time in the Ionia Correctional Facility, is already a registered sex offender.
When authorities uncovered very graphic letters exchanged between Scott and Ehle, detailing what Scott wanted to do to the 16-year-old girl, they opened an investigation. In the letters, Ehle allegedly said that she wanted Scott to “teach her daughter about sex” and that he should come to her trailer and “take her (daughter’s) virginity”.
The investigation led to a search of Ehle’s trailer in Coldwater, which then led to a search of her computer. On it investigators found evidence of another conversation, conducted through social media, with another man named James Winebrenner. He was also soliciting sex with a handicapped minor. These conversations are said to have included plans for a “threesome” with Ehle, her daughter, and Winebrenner.
According to MSP officials, they don’t believe that either of the planned sexual encounters had actually taken place yet. In Scott’s case, it was because he was still behind bars. And the communications with the second man alleged future events and not events that had already happened. As a result, officers are assuming that the girl was as yet unharmed.
Investigators say that the girl is nonverbal and cannot provide any information about any past abuses. However, in order to assure her safety, she has been removed from her mother’s custody and placed in the care of Social Services.
Ehle has been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime by computer, which under Michigan law is a fifteen year felony. She was also charged with agreeing to provide sexual images of the girl to Scott, which is a 20 year felony, and attempting to set up sexual encounters with a minor. Authorities are also considering charging her with child abuse.
She was arraigned in the Branch County District Court, where the judge set her bond at $150,000. Her preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 19.