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Two charged in separate Franklin child-sex probes

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LOUISBURG — The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on April 12 announced the arrests of two suspects charged in separate investigations involving sexual abuse of children.

One investigation involves allegations more than 20 years old.

The sheriff’s office said Kenneth Neal Hinkle, 59, is accused of abusing a girl in 1996 and 1997. The victim was about 13 at the time, according to spokesman Terry Wright.

The victim was an acquaintance of the suspect, Wright said.

Information about the abuse was reported to the sheriff’s office on Feb. 11. It is said the abuse happened in Franklin and Wake counties.

Both counties’ sheriff’s offices worked on the investigation and issued warrants for Hinkle’s arrest on April 11. Hinkle lives on Stoney Hill Church Road in Bailey. He was arrested on April 12 with assistance from the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

Hinkle was charged with felony statutory rape of a person 13-15, felony statutory sexual offense of a person 13-15, and felony indecent liberties with a child.

He was issued a $1 million secured bond at the Nash County Detention Facility.

Granville man arrested April 11

A second investigation by the Franklin and Granville county sheriff’s offices led to charges April 11 against a 31-year-old man.

Michael Kirby Wheeler, of Franklinton, was arrested and charged by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office with felony statutory sex offense with a child by an adult and felony indecent liberties with a child.

The Granville County Sheriff’s Office charged Wheeler with an additional count of both crimes as well.

According to Wright, a report was filed with the sheriff’s office on March 3. The victim was a girl under the age of 10.

Wheeler is an acquaintance of the girl’s family, he said.

After his arrest, he was held under two $335,000 secured bonds at the Granville County Detention Facility.