Mother accused of selling baby
Police say former boyfriend's ex was buyer; $2,000 used to buy clothes, PlaystationsSaturday, November 23, 2002
By CANDACE HECKMAN
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER
KENT -- The 3-month-old baby was crying all of the time, trying her patience. So, his 28-year-old mother told police, she took him down to a local Fred Meyer and gave him to a stranger for $2,000 in cash.
And it turned out the stranger was really her former boyfriend's ex-wife.
The mother used the money to pay off a traffic ticket, then buy groceries, clothes, two Sony PlayStations and a VCR -- before she went out to a bar and casino.
King County prosecutors yesterday charged the mother, Virginia Ramsey of Kent, as well as her ex-boyfriend, Kenneth Slape, 34, of Black Diamond, with child selling. The other woman, Tina Anderson, 37, of Mesa in Franklin County, has been charged with child buying. She is Slape's ex-wife.
Authorities say the transaction took place in June 2001. The baby was with Anderson little more than a week. Franklin County sheriff's deputies took the baby, who is now 21 months old, from Anderson's home after a visit by state child-welfare workers. He was in good health.
Dan Donahoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecutor's Office, said it took more than a year to sort out the stories and decide how to charge Ramsey, Slape and Anderson.
Ramsey and Anderson both told detectives that they considered the transaction an adoption. Slape said he was simply helping his ex-girlfriend.
Child selling and buying is a class C felony and could land the three in jail for five years. Police have not arrested any of them, but they are expected to make a first court appearance on Dec. 5. Prosecutors plans to ask that each be held on $5,000 bail.
Ramsey had another son who was living with her. The boy, now 9, is in the care of relatives, state child-welfare officials say.
It was the baby's older brother who gave police enough details to question his mother. According to court records, detectives went to his Kent elementary school to talk to him after getting a tip that his baby brother may have been sold. The older boy told them that his mom got $5,000 from a lady at the Covington Fred Meyer.
"He said (the baby) was always crying and was hard to take care of and his mom wanted him to have a nice home," Kent Detective Steven Kelley wrote in an affidavit.
A neighbor also tipped police. She told investigators that Ramsey said the baby had been "getting on her nerves" and she was going to give him to a cousin. The neighbor then noticed that Ramsey came into some money, no longer had the baby around and made a trip to a casino.
Not long before she showed up with the money, Ramsey got a notice that she was being evicted from her apartment.
Detectives confronted Ramsey, and she told them that she met a woman named Bethany who was supposed to have adopted the baby. The woman gave her $2,000 in an envelope at the exchange and was to give her $3,000 more after the adoption became final.
Slape supposedly arranged the adoption. He told investigators that he is not the baby's father.
Slape said yesterday that he talked to police last June because he didn't think he did anything wrong. He declined to comment any further on the investigation.
Ramsey and Anderson could not be reached for comment last night.
Court documents say Slape told a Kent detective that after he and Ramsey broke up, she complained to him about not being able to take care of the baby. Slape said he called Anderson, his ex-wife, and she agreed to take the baby. He said that Anderson was also to give Ramsey $2,000 to "help her get on her feet."
According to court records, Anderson told the same detective that she was concerned for the child, agreed to take him and gave Ramsey some financial help. She told detectives that she gave Ramsey $1,500.
The court papers say Anderson asked Ramsey to give her a written statement saying that she was giving up her rights to the baby. And Anderson told investigators that she consulted an attorney before taking the boy.
But there was never any formal court adoption.
The child is now in foster care.
PI-reporters Heath Foster and Lisa Stiffler contributed to this report. P-I reporter Candace Heckman can be reached at 206-448-8348 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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