Police in Spencer have launched a nationwide search for potential victims after a man confessed to sexually abusing two boys who were in his foster care.
Police said William "Jake" Jones and his wife fostered many children in their home on Yadkin Avenue between 2001-2004.
"We have reason to believe that some of these victims may even live in other states," said Chief Michael James.
Neighbors told Channel 9 they often saw Jones working in his yard, and many neighborhood children played with his foster children.
Hearing of the new allegations Wednesday, neighbor Kent Smith was at a loss for words. "It's a terrible thing, it really is. That's… wow," Smith said.
Neighbors said Jones and his family moved suddenly about two years ago, to Newport, Tenn.
Authorities said the alleged abuse may have gone unreported, except for a current custody case in Tennessee involving Jones.
"[Jones] admitted to the offenses during a court proceeding ," Chief Michael James said.
James said authorities in Tennessee then contacted Spencer Police to launch an investigation into Jones' confession.
Jones was extradited and brought to Rowan County on May 10.
Officials at Rowan County Department of Social Services refused to release how many children passed through Jones' care. They also would not confirm or deny if social case workers ever investigated any complaints against him.
But the DSS director did tell Eyewitness News they were helping authorities track down other potential victims and that Jones had passed all of the department's background checks and assessment tests prior to becoming a licensed foster parent for Rowan County.