Kidnapping charges dropped in sale of kids

By: CARISSA HEBERT

Managing Editor

The charges of kidnapping against three persons, who allegedly traded two children for a bird and $175, have been dropped, according to Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Chief of Detectives Keith Dupre.

However, all three are still facing charges of selling minor children, two counts each.

The investigation into the case, which has brought Evangeline Parish national attention, continues. The charges of kidnapping were dropped Wednesday, March 4, according to Dupre.

Since the initial arrest, authorities have learned Donna Louise Greenwell, 51, 3028 Highway 113, Pitkin, did not kidnap the children, since the biological mother left them in her custody. The case began after Greenwell allegedly contacted Brandy Lynn, 27, and Paul James Romero, 46, 5296 Eunice/Basile Highway, Eunice, to purchase a bird the couple advertised for $1,500. During the conversation, it is believed she learned the childless couple had no children despite trying for several years. She said she had two children, a four-year-old girl and five-year-old boy, that she couldn’t care for and asked if they would adopt them. After making an offer that the Romeros said they could not meet, she agreed to exchange the bird and cash for the children. The cash is believed to have been payment to start the adoption process.

Glenmora Officer Jennifer Potter began this investigation, which led her to the Eunice Police Department and Detectives Mike Perry and Robert “Beef” Brickley Jr. As the investigation continued, Brickley contacted Dupre, because the swap allegedly occurred in Evangeline Parish. The Romeros were approached and detained at McDonald’s in Eunice Saturday, February 21. All three were charged during the following week’s investigation with aggravated kidnapping.

Last week, Greenwell’s attorney issued a statement stating Greenwell took physical custody of the children in late 2007 or early 2008 from the children’s biological mother, Jennifer Brown, who was unable to take care of them. Her attorney, Timmy J. Fontenot of Mamou, said Greenwell immediately sought medical treatment for the children and was given custody by Brown in August of 2008 so the children could attend school. Fontenot said the allegations of the sale of the children are completely false as well as the kidnapping charges. “Donna was simply trying to find a good home for children abandoned to her care, and the facts will substantiate this.”

The investigation continues.

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