By Jack Gurner
YALOBUSHA – It will be illegal to sell children in Mississippi under a provision of the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act that is awaiting the signature of Gov. Haley Barbour.
The amendment to the bill that covers buying and selling children was prompted by an incident last August near Enid Lake in Yalobusha County.
A woman, identified by authorities as Tracy Moore, allegedly made a comment about selling a two-week-old baby for $2,000 and a used car.
Moore was taken into custody and held at the Panola County Jail. As investigators began to unravel the tale, they discovered that the elder Moore was actually the child’s grandmother even though her name was on the birth certificate.
Since there were no state laws prohibiting the sale of children, the grandmother was charged with child endangerment because the child was malnourished, according to Yalobusha Sheriff Lance Humphreys.
The child’s birth mother, Brandy Moore, was held briefly, but was released from jail and began to give television interviews. She claimed to know nothing about her mother’s attempts to sell the baby.
The amendment makes it a felony to sell, buy, or offer to sell or buy a child or unborn child punishable by a $20,000 fine or ten years in jail.
“I’m glad to see it pass,” Humphreys said. “Hopefully we won’t see a circumstance where we have to use it.”
Sen. Doug Davis, R-Hernando, had filed legislation earlier prohibiting child selling and it was approved in the Senate, but it didn’t clear a committee in the House.
The House later unanimously approved a child abduction proposal – the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act – and sent it to the Senate. Davis attached his amendment to the House bill and it was approved Friday.
“It certainly not something we want to see going on” Rep Tommy Reynolds said. “It’s not something we want in this state or any other, for that matter.”