Mother Attempts to Sell Toddler for $500

PALATKA, Florida — A 33-year-old mother in Palatka, Florida, has been taken into custody and charged with multiple felonies after allegedly attempting to sell her 18-month-old daughter to a stranger for $500. Jessica C. Woods faces three counts of child abuse, one count of child neglect, unlawful desertion of a child, and selling or surrendering a minor for money or property, according to authorities.

The incident unfolded on Tuesday, March 5, when Woods was spotted loitering around a local business in Palatka with her toddler. An anonymous employee, who had noticed Woods and the child in the area for several days, approached her to offer assistance. It was during this interaction that Woods allegedly propositioned the employee, offering to sell her daughter for $500. When the employee declined, Woods walked away and left the child behind.

Concerned for the toddler’s well-being, the employee immediately took the child to the local police department, where she detailed the encounter with officers. Patrol officers and members of the victim advocate unit provided care for the child until the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) arrived to take custody of her. DCF subsequently placed the toddler in foster care.

A warrant for Woods’ arrest was issued following an investigation, and on March 7, officers located her and took her into custody. As of Thursday, Woods remained in the Putnam County Jail on a bond of $255,000, with a judge ordering no contact between her and her daughter.

Woods has a history of criminal charges, including possession of narcotics, larceny, and trespassing, according to local reports.

The circumstances surrounding this shocking case of attempted child sale and abandonment highlight the importance of vigilance within communities to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals. The swift response from the anonymous employee and law enforcement authorities led to the child being rescued from a potentially dangerous situation. The investigation is ongoing, and Woods is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.