Russian police have detained a 25-year-old on suspicion that he offered to sell his infant son over the Internet for 800,000 rubles ($25,000) in order to spite his soon-to-be ex-wife, with whom he was engaged in a bitter custody battle, police said Thursday.
Investigators said in a statement that although the man had apparently not lived with the family since the birth of his son a year and eight months ago, his wife informed them that he was demanding custody of the boy and constantly sending her threatening and offensive text messages.
When a classified ad offering the child for sale and noting the possibility of harvesting his organs appeared on a popular website for residents of the southern city of Astrakhan, police were inundated with calls from locals wanting to find whoever posted it, the investigators’ statement said.
Officers located the mother’s residence and discovered the boy unharmed. The mother informed the police that her estranged husband, reportedly an unemployed alcoholic who lived with his parents in a nearby rural settlement, was probably responsible for posting the classified ad.
Police said that when they found the man he was drunk but flatly denied posting the ad.
A police spokesman told RIA Novosti that although the ad was “probably a sick joke,” the man had been brought into custody and a criminal investigation was underway.