HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) -- Detectives in Pender County charged Robert Earley and his daughter Natalie Earley with incest.
In addition to Robert's incest charge, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office says he is also charged with incest against a child who is 13, 14, or 15 years-old, statutory rape, and negligent child abuse-serious physical injury.
When WWAY drove by the home where investigators say Robert and Natalie used to live, Robert's mother and one of his daughters were home and spoke to us.
They say the allegations Pender County has charged Robert and Natalie with stem from a custody battle Robert and his estranged wife are having over their five-year-old son. As far as the family is concerned, Robert and Natalie are both innocent.
"My name is Earley. You can only imagine how embarrassing that is to me," Jennifer Earley, 29, one of Robert's six daughters, said.
Jennifer says she is embarrassed because of the two incest charges pinned on her father and the incest charge against her 25-year-old sister.
"My father molested my little sister, whose 25? She not 12, 13, 14, or 15 and (the child) is 5," Earley said.
The child, who we are not identifying because of the nature of the alleged crimes, is Robert's child from another marriage according to Jennifer. Jennifer said Robert has custody of the child, but now the child's mother wants the child back.
"The mother has said a bunch of things, allegations on my father," Earley said.
According to Jennifer, her father and sister took the child away because of the custody battle with Robert's estranged wife. She went on to say that Natalie has been very involved in the child's care and has been given some parental rights over the child.
She also defended Natalie's character, stating she has never done anything wrong in her life.
"My sister has a perfect record. She has been an outstanding citizen," Earley said. "She is a CNA, and she works two jobs half of the time to try and help out."
Jennifer says she does not know where her father, sister and the child are, but says it will be difficult for them to come home in light of these charges.
"Now how is he supposed to take care of his kid with all these allegations? How is he supposed to come back to his home," Earley said.
The Pender County Sheriff’s Office said Robert and Natalie could possibly be headed to Florida. They believe Robert is driving a red 1993 pick-up truck with North Carolina license plate BDW7514.
The news release issued by the Pender County Sheriff's Office had no mention that Robert and Natalie have a child with them.