published Friday, March 29th, 2013

Police: Tenn. man tries to sell six-year-old daughter for bail money

KINGSPORT, Tenn. — Police in Kingsport have charged a man with trying to sell his child to pay his girlfriend's bail.

The Kingsport Times-News reported the man took his 6-year-old daughter to a parking lot Wednesday, expecting to meet a woman who agreed to pay him $1,500 for parental rights. Kingsport police were there to meet him, and charged him with the felony of illegal payments in connection with placement of a child.

Investigators said they listened as he offered custody to a 75-year-old woman, saying he needed to bail his girlfriend out of jail. The woman, who is the grandmother of the girlfriend, agreed to the deal at police urging. She had called police, saying the couple left their two children at her home.

While she was talking to police, the suspect called her and police listened on a speaker phone. Investigators said the man called three times, saying the grandmother could have the girl and the man would sign over parental rights in exchange for $1,500.

The suspect was booked into the Kingsport city jail. After arraignment Thursday, he was transferred to the Sullivan County Jail and held in lieu of $16,000 bond. The jail website listed him as an inmate on Friday morning. The county court clerk's office telephone rang unanswered on Good Friday and it was unclear whether the defendant yet had an attorney.

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