Prosecutor: "This case is exhibit A for how devastating heroin is to our communities."

Published: Mar. 23, 2015 at 2:15 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2015 at 5:11 PM EDT
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(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Mike Woeste)
(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Mike Woeste)
Shandell Willingham (PHOTO: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Shandell Willingham (PHOTO: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Warren County mother is accused of trafficking her 11-year-old daughter for sex with a drug dealer to get heroin.

April Corcoran and Shandell Willingham both face possible life prison sentences in what will be the first Hamilton County prosecution in state court for human trafficking, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced Monday.

"As a parent, it is hard to imagine how you could use your child to satisfy your drug addiction," Deters said. "Even after all my years as a prosecutor, I continue to be amazed at how badly parents treat their children. What this little girl endured is unimaginable and I can only hope that mom and drug dealers's prosecution, the love and support of her family and intense counseling will help this child regain some trust in the world. This case is exhibit A for how devastating heroin is to our communities."

DeWine called the situation "sad beyond measure."

"Instead of protecting her daughter, the mother saw her as a way to get drugs because the lure of heroin was apparently too strong," he said.

Corcoran, 30, who lives in the tiny village of Pleasant Plain, faces 27 felony indictments.

Corcoran's family members declined to speak Monday, holding signs reading "No Comment. Call my lawyer."

Neighbors of Corcoran said they didn't know her well but that her family is full of nice people.

Shandell Willingham, 41, stands accused of 26 felony counts including rape and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.

Authorities say the crimes took place between Feb. 15 and June 6 at Willingham's Colerain Avenue apartment in Camp Washington. Willingham videotaped some of the sex; Corcoran gave her daughter heroin.

"In living here I have seen him a few times coming in and out of the main area, he doesn't talk much to many people, but I always see him walking in and out with people," said Britton Spitler, who moved to the apartment complex in August.

The Warren County Prosecutor says Corcoran has no previous felony charges.

Cincinnati police began investigating when the girl went to live with her father and step-mother in June and confided in her step-mother. She still resides with them.

Last year heroin drug overdoses killed nearly 300 people in Hamilton County. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters want to hold drug dealers more accountable, and are looking to change legislation.

"That simply says if you sell drugs, heroin, and it results in someone's death you can be prosecuted for manslaughter," said Hamilton Co. Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Currently prosecutors have to prove it was a foreseeable death to charge drug dealers. DeWine will propose the new legislation in the upcoming session.

Corcoran will be in court Thursday at 10 a.m. in front of Judge Leslie Ghiz.

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