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News / Clark County News

Woman arrested; she allegedly tried to sell a newborn boy for $500

3-day-old offered for $500 in a Taco Bell, sheriff's deputies say

By John Branton
Published: July 16, 2011, 12:00am

A 36-year-old Vancouver woman was booked into Clark County Jail after she allegedly offered to sell her 3-day-old son to another woman for $500 in a Taco Bell restaurant in Hazel Dell.

Heidi Lynn Knowles was arrested Thursday night on previously issued warrants, according to a bulletin that sheriff’s Sgt. Phil Sample issued Friday evening. Sheriff’s deputies are asking deputy prosecutors to consider charging Knowles with attempted child-selling, which is a class C felony.

About 9:30 p.m. Thursday, officers were called to Kay’s Motel, 6700 N.E. Highway 99. A woman had called 911 to report that Knowles approached her in the restaurant, handed the newborn to her and offered to sell him to her.

Deputies found Knowles at the motel with the infant, who appeared to be in good health. They called for officials with Child Protective Services who took custody of him, Sample said.

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Sample, a veteran of 14 years with the sheriff’s office, said he’s heard of no similar cases in Clark County.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

Knowles denied trying to sell her baby, he said.

“She seemed to be pretty evasive about the questions (officers asked her),” Sample said. “She definitely seemed to be very rational though.”

Deputies took written statements from the woman who called 911, from someone who had been with her, and from a Taco Bell employee — all corroborating the allegation that Knowles tried to sell the baby, Sample said.

Sample declined to reveal the baby’s name and said he didn’t know where he was born or who the father is.

Knowles is being held without bail under her maiden name, Gasaway, and will make a first appearance in court on Monday, a jail officer said.

Besides the potential attempted child-selling charge, she’s in custody on previously issued arrest warrants from Benton County, charging bail-jumping, possessing drug paraphernalia and theft, the officer said.

The investigation is continuing.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.