By Daily Mail Reporter (27th February 2009)- A 53-year-old woman is accused of handing over two children in her care for a pet cockatoo and $175.
She is said to have made the deal with a couple desperate to have their own child.
Donna Greenwell, who had been asked to look after the youngsters by their mother, is said to have negotiated the transaction for the boy, five, and girl, four, by phone after spotting a flier stuck on a barn selling the cockatoo for $1,500,
When Paul Romero, 46, and his wife Brandy Lynn, 27, told Greenwell that they had been trying unsuccessfully to have a child, she allegedly offered to hand over the boy and girl for around $2,000.
Keith Dupre, a detective with the Evangeline Parish sheriff's office in Louisiana, said that when the Romeros said they could not afford that price, Ms Greenwell 'agreed to make an even trade - the bird for the kids'.
Greenwell, a lorry driver, arrived at the Romeros' home with the children the next day and said she would need $175 to complete adoption paperwork.
But she had no authority to put the children up for adoption after being asked to look after the children by their mother.
Authorities are also investigating a claim made by the children that they were sexually and physically abused, although not by Greenwell or the Romeros.
Furthermore police are now also making inquiries whether Greenwell, who has an extensive criminal record including charges for kidnapping, assault and theft, might have sold other children.
'She's had numerous children living with her at various times over the years,' said one officer.
Police arrested the Romeros after receiving a tip-off that the adults and the children were at a fast food restaurant. The children have now been taken into care. Greenwell was remanded in custody after handing herself into police on Sunday.
It is believed that Greenwell began caring for the children a year ago at their mother's request.
Mr Dupre said Greenwell claimed 'that the mother was having a hard time and asked her to babysit. She said one month led to two months and two months led to a year'.
Their mother is believed to be in Texas, but told police that she planned to return to Evangeline Parish soon.
He added: 'The Romeros had good intentions from what we see. They really wanted to take care of the children.
'The children were well-dressed and seemed to be treated well by the Romero family.'
The Romeros were freed on bail and the children's father who was questioned by police has expressed an interest in getting custody.
State authorities will now decide whether the parents can visit or gain custody of their children.
Click to view image: 'cockatoo'
Click to view image: 'Donna Greenwell'
Click to view image: 'Brandy Lynn Romero'
Click to view image: 'Paul Romero'
Tags: birdbrain, woman swaps pet, cockatoo, for kids, sells kids for cash, the missing link, smitten_kitten
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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