Greenwell’s case makes national news; additional charges to be filed
By: CARISSA HEBERT
Local law enforcement authorities have been contacted by numerous news agencies over the last 48 hours in an attempt to learn more about the exchange of two kids for a bird and $175.
As the spotlight turned on Evangeline Parish, Keith Dupre, chief of detectives for the parish here, continued to investigate this case that has shocked many as the details became public. On Friday morning, Dupre was working on securing a warrant to file additional charges of two counts of selling minor children against Donna Louise Greenwell, 51, 3028 Highway 113, Pitkin. Greenwell already was booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail on aggravated kidnapping charges where she remains incarcerated on a $100,000 bond.
Greenwell allegedly contacted two Evangeline Parish residents about purchasing a bird for $1,500 when the conversation turned to children and Greenwell realized the childless couple wanted children but couldn’t have them naturally.
The couple, Brandy Lynn, 27, and Paul James Romero, 46, 5296 Eunice/Basile Highway, Eunice, agreed to take custody of the two children, a four-year-old girl and five-year-old boy, siblings, for the bird and $175 in cash. The cash allegedly was going to be used by Greenwell to begin the adoption process.
Investigators received a tip about this exchange which led to the investigation of kids being sold here. On Saturday, February 21, investigators, Dupre, Eunice Detectives Mike Perry and Robert “Beef” Brickley Jr. and Glenmora Officer Jennifer Potter, went to McDonalds and approached the Romeros, who cooperated with the authorities. Dupre explained the Romeros appeared to have good intentions and took care of the children while they were in their custody. Because of these factors, their bond, was lowered to $5,000 each from $100,000 each, enabling them to post bond after being arrested on aggravated kidnapping charges and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail.
Investigators also learned a 17-month-old male sibling to the two children was in the home of relatives in Allen Parish, who were involved in the adoption process.
Dupre said an aunt of the biological mother of the two children did call him Thursday to say the mother was coming home from Texas to set this story straight. He said he advised the aunt to direct her niece to local authorities in her town. He explained when Greenwell came into custody of the two children it did not occur in Evangeline Parish, so the place where the exchange was made was important to law enforcement there.
And because of all the publicity surrounding the incident, authorities are not releasing much information in this case, which spans several parishes, St. Landry, Allen, Rapides, Vernon and Evangeline. One Lafayette television station released inaccurate information in the case, so authorities in these other parishes are directing information requests to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office. Dupre said they were working to complete their investigation and make sure the children were safe in the future.
Dupre has fielded questions from ABC’s Good Morning program and from CNN. There have been calls from Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Alexandria, New Orleans, Miami, Florida, New York, California, and even the France press, as everyone learns of the story about two kids being sold for a bird and $175 in cash.