Sunday, March 25, 2001

Accused of selling son, parents give up baby girl

The Associated Press

        CANTON, Ohio — A husband and wife once accused of selling a son over the Internet have been denied the right to raise their youngest child.

        Stark County Family Court Judge Jim James on Friday stripped Frank and Renee Layne of parenting rights to their daughter Bobbi Jo, born Dec. 12. The child was taken from the Alliance couple when she was 2 days old.

        Neither parent has made significant strides to show they can handle caring for the girl, Judge James wrote in his decision.

        The Laynes will appeal, said Wayne Graham, the father's court-appointed attorney.

        A judge ruled Oct. 26 the couple failed to meet the requirements of a counseling plan created after they were accused in 1999 of selling their 14-year-old son to a stranger they met over the Internet.

        The parents denied selling the boy for $300 to a Harrisonburg, Va., man and claimed they only wanted to find him a better home.

        The boy told a social worker his parents sold him to the man. The boy threatened suicide while living with the man, who had placed an ad on the Internet expressing an interest in adopting a boy.

        The Stark County social service agency dropped the Internet adoption allegation when the couple acknowledged the boy was neglected and their remaining children were not getting proper care.

        The boy and five other children, then ranging in age from 1 to 15, were removed from the home in October and remain in foster homes.

        The couple has 13 children. They lost custody of a son in 1996 and gave up five for adoption.


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