Nov. 9, 2010 -- The mother of an 8-month-old Florida boy whose grandmother is accused of trying to sell him was allegedly also in on the plot, hoping to get a new car with the money, police said today.
Stephanie Bigbee Fleming, 22, of Bradenton, Fla., was charged today with one count of being a principal to the illegal sale or surrender of a child. She was ordered held on $50,000 bond.
Fleming, who was already in jail on unrelated charges, is currently being held in the Manatee County Jail.
Fleming's mother, Patty Bigbee, 45, of Holly Hill, Fla., was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of trying to sell her grandson for $75,000.
Police said the only motive in the attempted baby sale was money.
"They obviously had a lack of humanity," Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Wayne Ivey said. "They were going to sell this baby and take the proceeds to buy cars and other goods that they felt they needed to live their life."
Fleming and the little boy's father reportedly discussed having more children to also put them up for sale, police said.
Bigbee had tracked down another of her daughters, who she had given up for adoption, and approached the daughter about taking Bigbee's grandson. Bigbee said she could no longer care for the boy, Ivey said at a news conference today.
When Bigbee allegedly started asking the woman for money in exchange for the child, the daughter contacted police, according to the FDLE.
Bigbee allegedly first asked for $75,000, but eventually said she was willing to take $30,000 for the little boy, police said.
The two met Friday afternoon in Daytona Beach to complete the transaction, according to the FDLE.
After the child and money changed hands in a parking lot near the Daytona Speedway, police arrested Bigbee, charging her with the illegal sale or surrender of a child and communication fraud.
She is currently being held at the Volusia County Jail on $100,000 bond.
Police said today that an arrest warrant for Fleming was issued after the investigation revealed that she and Bigbee had discussed the selling price for the child and how the funds would be split.
Fleming allegedly agreed to receive $9,000 for the sale of her baby, and planned to purchase a new vehicle from the money she received.
Bigbee's 42-year-old boyfriend, Lawrence Works, was also arrested and charged with being a principal to the illegal sale or surrender of a child. He made his first appearance this morning and his bond was set at $50,000.
ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando tried to get a comment from Bigbee as she was taken to the Volusia County Jail Friday night, but she didn't answer questions.
The baby boy was put into the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
"When you look at this, where the grandmother was willing to sell her owngrandchild, obviously to some degree for profit, it's appalling," Ivey said.
Sources told WFTV that investigators believe Bigbee has been involved before in transactions involving children and in extortion plots.
"[I] couldn't believe it," said Sandra Wells, one of Bigbee's neighbors. "I thought they must be in some kind of trouble and that's why they had to get rid of the baby and they couldn't keep it."
FDLE detectives said the investigation is continuing.