A rural Healdton man is facing charges that accuse him of repeatedly raping a child, and investigators said before the case is closed, the child’s mother could also be facing charges.

Michael Joe Broadnax was arrested by Carter County deputies Sunday after the victim found the courage to report the years of sexual assaults and death threats she had endured. Prosecutors filed a first-degree rape charge against the 55-yearold man Monday. The charge also seeks penalty enhancement. Prosecutors have filed a “Page II” in the case based on Broadnax’s prior convic­tion for possession of a con­trolled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. He made an initial appear­ance in Carter County District Court Monday afternoon. Bond was set at $75,000.

The charge accuses him of raping the girl, who was under the age of 14, between October 2006 and October 2008.

Capt. Gregg Johnson, Carter County Sher­iff ’s Department, said the victim, who has a small son as a result of the sexual assaults, told investigators fear had kept her silent.

“Death threats had been made and she was afraid— for herself and her child. But it was also fear that led her to make the call. It was an effort to protect her child,” Johnson said.

Reports indicate Broadnax made “admis­sions” during interviews with investigators confirming the preschooler is his child.

Reports also indicate the victim's mother was aware her daughter was being sexually victimized, but did nothing to prevent or stop the attacks.

Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace on Tuesday called the case "very disturbing and tragic." He described the investigation as "still open and active," saying it was possible the case would lead to the arrest of the victim's mother.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Broadnax remained detained at the county detention center pending the posting of bond. A preliminary conference has been set for 9 a.m. on July 23.