A couple in West Virginia has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell the woman’s 3-month-old baby daughter for drug money, authorities said.
Jonathan Flint, 20, and his fiancée, Ashley Harmon, 25, first asked a neighbor for $1,000, then dropped the price to $500, according to reports.
The neighbor, Carolyn Redden, did not pay for the child, but looked after the baby for several hours, WSAZ-TV reported. Redden did not know the woman, but had known Flint since he was a child, the station reported.
The pair asked Redden to watch the infant while they walked five miles to a convenience store.
The couple left her with a bottle of spoiled milk and a soiled diaper, Redden said. “I ran out and got diapers and more bottles for her,” Redden told the station. “She was shaking, clinching her fists, crying and screaming.”
The infant was so sick, and had such an especially bad case of diaper rash, Redden called 911, she said. She gave Flint’s name and descriptions of him and the woman to Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies, who tracked down the couple and arrested them.
The baby may have been suffering from narcotics withdrawal, an EMS worker reportedly told Redden. The child was taken to a local hospital and later placed in the care of a foster family.
Capt. Jim Sizemore called the case deeply disturbing.
“You try very hard to separate your professional life from your personal life. But when there’s a child being abused, you can’t help but think, there but for the grace of God is my child. I have a daughter that I love more than anything on this earth and I would gladly give my life to keep her safe,” he said.
Authorities contacted the baby’s father and his mother and learned Harmon had left her home on Thursday with the baby, but left her two other children behind. All are under the age of 3.
Deputies located the couple near Highland Mountain and took them into custody, authorities said.
Both are charged with felony child neglect risking harm or death, and selling or attempting to sell a child.
They are currently being held at the Southern Regional Jail in Fayette County in lieu of $100,000 bail each. It was not clear if they had entered pleas.