JOPLIN, Missouri — It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.
A woman running a Missouri day care center has been charged with plotting to kidnap a 5-month-old baby in her care and give her to another family in Arkansas in an illegal adoption, authorities said.
Lasonya Poindexter, 30, ran the daycare out of her home with her younger sister and began taking care of Ashley and Christian Still’s daughter a few days a week in April, federal prosecutors said.
In June, Poindexter allegedly contacted a couple in Lincoln, Arkansas and began making arrangements for them to adopt the little girl she was caring for even though her parents had no intention of giving her up, prosecutors said.
Over the coming months, authorities say Poindexter made at least four 100-mile trips to Arkansas to bring the baby to meet the prospective new parents, who were unaware that she had no authority to do so. The duped couple went so far as to build a nursery in their home.
Investigators say Poindexter told the couple that the baby had been the product of a rape and that the mother had left the child with Poindexter asking her to find it a home. She told them that the mother wanted a “closed adoption” and didn’t want to meet them.
But the couple eventually grew suspicious as Poindexter’s story about who would pay for the adoption changed and she repeatedly declined the couple’s offer to drive to Missouri to see the child.
The plot unraveled in July when the prospective mother spotted a photo of Ashley Stills with the baby through Poindexter’s daughter’s Facebook page. Further review of other photos revealed that Stills appeared to be the baby’s mother. When the woman messaged Stills, she discovered the baby had not been put up for adoption and the Stills contacted authorities.
When confronted by the prospective mother, Poindexter later told authorities that she considered offering them another child in her care.
She has been charged with attempted kidnapping.