Teresa Vanover had an expensive addiction. One she couldn’t fund herself. Her drug problem and ongoing medical expenses for her sick husband meant she was skint. So she did the most unthinkable thing any mother could. She prostituted her two young, disabled daughters…
Teresa Vanover, 52, didn’t have it easy. Her husband Kenneth, 60, was ill with a heart condition and was forced to use an oxygen tank after three heart attacks.
On top of that, her two young daughters then aged 15 and 13 were mentally disabled. Life was tough for the family in Eden, North Carolina, and they struggled to get by. Teresa didn’t work, and Kenneth’s medical bills were piling up.
She had to find a way to pay for them. And Teresa had an expensive habit of her own. She was addicted to crack cocaine, and her drug problem needed feeding.
Teresa knew she had to make money, and fast. And she saw her two young daughters as a way to do just that…
Thomas Woodall, 67, owned Woodall’s Barber Shop and had been running it for 40 years. A pillar of the local community, he was well known for his practical jokes and huge collection of golf balls.
Woodall’s Barber Shop was just a short distance from Vanover’s house. Somehow she and the barber crossed paths and an arrangement was made… Vanover offered up her two young daughters to him, and other men in the community, for sexual acts in exchange for money.
It’s believed she began by pimping out her eldest daughter. She’d take her to the barber shop for men to perform sexual acts on her.
She even forced her daughter to watch while she had sex with men. Charging between $5 – $20 (approx. £3.85 – £15.50), she told her girl it was to pay for her daddy’s medical expenses.
Vanover even took her daughter to a nearby boat ramp and a man’s mother’s house for sex acts. It’s believed Vanover prostituted her eldest daughter between 2013 and 2015.
Then, in July 2015, Kenneth passed away. But Kenneth’s death didn’t stop Vanover trying to make a quick bit of cash from her daughter.
How could a parent be so evil?
‘I knew you were innocent, but I could not help you’
Fiction and real-life became blurred...
The eldest girl refused though. She couldn’t understand why her mum wanted her to do those things, now there were no medical bills to pay. Realising her older daughter couldn’t be easily influenced anymore, Vanover used her younger daughter instead.
Then, just months after her dad had died, the older girl contacted the police. ‘We don’t have to do it anymore because daddy is dead,’ she told them.
In September 2015, Vanover was arrested. It was all over. The wicked mum had been busted. Vanover also led police to four men involved in the prostitution ring – Thomas Woodall, Everett Ferris Jr, 67, Donnie Carter, 65, and a fourth man, aged 75.
Vanover admitted 24 counts of child abuse by prostitution and 24 counts of promoting prostitution with a minor with a disability. She received the minimum 20-year sentence on three of her charges and a six-and-a-half year concurrent sentence for her other 45 charges.
The barber, Woodall, plus Ferris and Carter pleaded guilty to various sex crimes – receiving sentences of between 5 and 16 years. The fourth man is set to go on trial later this year.
Speaking at Vanover’s case, Wilkes County Superior Court Judge Mike Duncan said, ‘This is one of the most disturbing cases factually I’ve heard in my 10 years on the bench.’ He wasn’t the only one sickened by Vanover’s crimes.
Her sister, Susan Weaver said in an interview after sentencing, ‘It was wrong what she did and she did deserve to be punished. We were floored when we found out what she did.’
As for Vanover’s young daughters, they now have to live with the horror of what their own mother forced them to do… A mother who was supposed to be protecting them, but put her drug addiction first.
‘Drugs did this to me and I’m sorry,’ Vanover wrote in a letter read aloud by her attorney in court. ‘I’ve made some terrible decisions I’m not proud of…I am truly wholeheartedly sorry for what I’ve done to our family. I broke up a lot of families up and it hurts knowing that I did that.’