August 22, 2011 -
It's a situation most parents can't begin to imagine, willingly trading your own child for a small sum of money. But authorities say that's exactly what one Florida mother was trying to do with her 5-year-old son.
Accused of trying to sell her own son, 29-year-old Jessica Mickles faced a judge wearing jail stripes.
Her next door neighbors say they knew it was only a matter of time, but even this charge was surprising.
"We knew there was something going on, but I never thought someone would stoop that low to sell their child," says Timothy Pillion, Mickles' neighbor.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's office says Mickles tried to barter her son to a couple she met at church for $2000. But instead of taking the offer, James Gardner told detectives Saturday morning about the deal.
Within hours, a sting was set up, and deputies arrested Mickles when they say she showed up in Seminole to sell her son.
Skylar Wilson says the 5-year-old was always knocking on her door.
"'I want to come over to your house. I don't want to go to my mom's," says Skylar Wilson, a neighbor.
It may have been because of the living conditions inside his home next door.
"There's a time when they didn't have any toilet paper. She'd come over and ask for toilet paper because he used his socks and clothes as toilet paper," Wilson says.
Officials say the boy is unharmed and safe in child protective custody while his mom sits in jail with a $10,000 bond for trying to sell him.
Officials say the child doesn't have any relatives in the state.
Authorities will meet today to try to figure out who should get custody of the boy.