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Union Parish men accused of sex acts with children

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Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

UNION PARISH, La. (KNOE 8 News) - Two Union Parish men have been booked in the parish detention center this week accused of sexual acts with children.

37-year-old Justin Echols, of Marion, is charged with two counts of aggravated rape of children 5 and 8-years-old. He is being held on bonds totaling $500,000.

28-year-old Cody Steven Cunningham, of Downsville, is charged with aggravated incest with a child when she was between the ages 6 to 9. His bond is set at $50,000.

Sheriff Dusty Gates said a complaint was filed against Echols in late August and the investigation was turned over to State Police because the suspect has a relative that's employed at the Sheriff's Office.

During their investigation, State Police conducted forensic interviews and medical examinations with the victims. "Based on that evidence warrants were issued for his arrest," Gates said.

Gates said Echols was arrested in Pennsylvania where he was employed on a pipeline project and was returned to Union Parish on Tuesday.

The sheriff said the investigation into Cunningham's activities began with the mother filing a complaint in Arkansas where they lived. It was learned during the investigation that the alleged sexual activity took place at the suspect's residence at Downsville.

The investigation resulted in a warrant being issued for Cunningham's arrest that occurred Tuesday.

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