NEW ORLEANS - A Louisiana woman is accused of trading two young children in her care for a pet cockatoo and $175 cash from a couple who had been trying for years to have their own child.
Donna Greenwell, 53, of Pitkin, a long-haul trucker with an arrest record, is charged with aggravated kidnapping, along with would-be adoptive parents Paul J. Romero, 46, and Brandy Lynn Romero, 27, of Evangeline Parish.
"The Romeros had good intentions, from what we see," said Keith Dupre, an Evangeline Parish sheriff's detective. "They really wanted to take care of the kids."
The transaction for the 5-year-old boy and
the 4-year-old girl was negotiated by phone after Greenwell spotted a
flier posted at a livestock barn selling a cockatoo for $1,500 and
called the Romeros.
Although Paul Romero had three children from a previous marriage, Dupre said, he and Brandy had tried unsuccessfully to have a child together. When they told that to Greenwell, she allegedly offered to hand over the boy and girl for about $2,000. When the Romeros said they couldn't pay that, Dupre said, "Ms. Greenwell agreed to make an even trade: the bird for the kids."