A woman has been arrested four years after she allegedly bought a newborn girl from a prostitute for $20 and raised the child as her own.
Leah Codell Bracken was arrested Thursday on suspicion of purchasing a human being, welfare fraud and perjury. The girl was taken into protective custody, where she spent her fourth birthday Saturday.
Sheriff’s officials were searching for the birth mother, a prostitute who may have sold up to four other children.
Investigators were tipped to the alleged sale earlier this week and launched an investigation that led to the arrest.
“In this job, you think you’ve heard everything, but this is just unbelievable,” Sgt. Jim Cooper said. “I feel sorry for the little girl.”
Bracken was being held at the Sacramento County jail in lieu of $15,000 bail. She is unemployed and has two sons, ages 17 and 19, relatives said.
Bracken is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.