A disturbing story about a 2-year-old boy abandoned at a Goodwill drop-off location grew much worse after police announced two arrests and released more details about the incident.
The 2-year-old was abandoned on Monday morning in Southaven, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee.
Workers at the Goodwill said he was in good spirits and playing with toys after a man left him there with a plastic bag with clothing, food, and a note that read, "child abandoned…no phone number for mom."
Southaven police were seeking the public's help to identify the man, a woman, and a second man seen in his vehicle in their investigation.
The mother denies abandonment
According to WREG-TV, a woman named Antoinette Smith later claimed to be the boy's mother. She said that his name was Sergio and denied ever abandoning the child. Smith said that she had been tricked by a man she claimed was trying to force her to prostitute herself for his financial benefit.
She claimed that she had met with a male acquaintance on Sunday and went with him to Nashville. She left her son with the man's sister in Memphis.
Smith said that the man later told her that the woman they left her son with was his girlfriend and not his sister. That's when he allegedly tried to force her to prostitute herself for him.
"If I knew that I said I wouldn't have left my baby like that. Ain't no way I would have left my baby. That's all I got with me," Smith said in an interview with a Memphis activist.
Smith claimed that he abandoned her at a store and demanded that she prostitute herself, but that she refused.
The FBI arrested Turliscea Turner and Jeremy Fitzgerald and charged them with kidnapping. Fitzgerald has been identified as the man who allegedly went to Memphis with Smith to try to force her to prostitute herself, according to WREG. He is also accused of calling the boy's aunt and allegedly trying to ransom the child for money.
Police said that they captured Fitzgerald after he was spotted in Memphis. They said he attempted to flee in a vehicle but crashed and was taken into custody. Then they found Turner in a nearby grocery store in the same clothing she was wearing in the surveillance video of the abandonment.
Sergio remained in the custody of Child Protective Services.
Here's more about the disturbing story:
Mother of boy abandoned at Goodwill store claims he was kidnapped by man who tried to prostitute her www.youtube.com