A 34-year-old man is behind bars for sexually assaulting a young child.
Aiken County investigators tell us it happened over a three year span, starting when the girl was only three years old.
McCormick is a quiet sleepy little town, awakened by some very disturbing charges.
34-year-old Tracey Searles is charged with six counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct and three counts of lewd acts on a minor.
Neighbors are shocked.
"An innocent child? No, that's not right. He needs to do some serious time."
"I think it's appalling. You hear more and more of it."
One grandfather of four says he can't even imagine it. "If he's guilty, they should never let him out."
Toros Kennedy is the suspect's brother-in-law, and he says they should do just that.
"He ain't that type of person," Kennedy says. "He loved his kids. He would do nothing like that."
Kennedy went as far as saying he'd still trust him with his own two-year-old son, with or without the charges.
"Of course!" he says. "Yeah!"
Tracey's sister Watonya shakes her head in disbelief. She says her brother has lived in McCormick with his mother for the past three years.
Investigators say the alleged assaults occurred between August 2000 and November 2003 in the bedroom of an Aiken home.
"They're already charging him like he already guilty...and there's no ifs and buts about it. It's so unfair," Watonya says.
Tracey Searles was arrested Thursday afternoon.
He's being held at the Aiken County Detention Center.
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