A soldier serving in South Korea is fighting for the custody of a newborn child that his wife attempted to sell on Facebook after saying the baby had died.
Sgt. Steven Garcia, 24, a patrol supervisor with the 142nd Military Police Company in Seoul, was told in January that his wife, Marina Garcia, gave birth to a child that died during childbirth, the Star Telegram reported.
A soldier wants custody of the baby his wife told him died at birth. She tried to give the newborn away, police say. https://t.co/EeSp204J8a
— seth robson (@sethrobson1) May 23, 2018
“When my sister called me about that, it was pretty emotional,” Steven Garcia told KVOA. “We cried quite a bit together over the phone. It was devastating.”
Steven Garcia soon learned that he was lied to after finding out the baby had not died during childbirth, and that he was not the father of the child, authorities said.
The baby was born on Feb. 2 at Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Three days later, an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer pulled over an out-of-state vehicle for speeding. Inside the vehicle was a couple and a 3-day-old infant.
It turned out that neither Alex Hernandez, 33, and his wife, Leslie Morin Hernandez, 41, were the biological parents of the infant in the vehicle.
Alex Hernandez, 33, pleaded guilty to forgery in April for signing the child’s birth certificate to be the father after Marina Garcia arranged to hand over the child to them. Leslie Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit forgery.
The couple received four years of supervised probation.
Marina Garcia pleaded guilty to an attempted scheme to defraud and will face sentencing next month.
According to Arizona Range News, the arrangement for the sale of the child was made via Facebook Messenger.
Garcia planned to travel to Texas to sign away her parental rights to the couple.
Steven Garcia, planning to divorce his wife, is now fighting for custody of the child.
“My adoptive father completely changed my life. Without him, I would not be where I am today,” Steven Garcia told KVOA. “For the opportunity to do that for someone else, it’s important. I believe it could change the child’s life.”
A GoFundMe page was set up by Garcia’s cousin to help fund legal and travel fees as Steven Garcia fights for custody of the baby.