Investigators found that earlier in the day a couple had brought the 3-month-old to the home, a sheriff’s department news release says. And then the couple allegedly tried to sell the infant for $500 to $1,000, according to witness accounts.
“Law enforcement officers frequently deal with some pretty strange situations,” Sheriff Steve Kessler said in the release. “A situation like this is really out of the ordinary though.”
No one actually agreed to buy the baby, according to the release. But the couple left it there anyway. “Witnesses were able to identify the male who had tried to sell the child but did not know the female accompanying him,” the release says.
Authorities think that the woman was the baby’s biological mother, Ashley Nichole Harmon, 25. Harmon has been taken into custody in connection with the incident, along with Jonathan Isaac Lucas Flint, 20.
Flint and Harmon were jailed on felony charges that include selling or attempting to sell a child.
The 911 caller, Carolyn Redden, told WSAZ that the couple had asked her to babysit the child after she had declined to buy it from them. They eventually returned a day later, but by that time, child protective services had taken the baby, Redden told the station.
“It is a sad commentary on the society in which we live that we actually have to codify laws prohibiting the sale or attempted sale of innocent young children,” prosecuting attorney Larry Harrah said in the release. “My office has been working closely with the sheriff’s office and Child Protective Services since we first learned of this complaint, and we intend to vigorously pursue the criminal charges filed in connection with this matter.”
This post has been updated.