Driver: W. Melbourne mom tried to sell son for gas money
BY KAUSTUV BASU
Florida Today | 28-Sep-2009
SUNTREE -- A 37-year-old woman was arrested Friday afternoon
after a tow truck driver told police that the woman offered to
sell her child to him in exchange for money to purchase gas,
Melbourne police said.
Marcy Pappalardo faces a charge of child neglect in connection
with the report. Police are investigating.
Melbourne police Sgt. Michael Casey said officers learned of
a 9-1-1 call about 3 p.m. from a tow truck driver who said a
woman had tried to sell him her 6-year-old boy in exchange for
gas money at a gas station near U.S. 1 and Lake Washington Road.
The driver refused, Melbourne police said, then followed the
mother, who was in a white sedan with her child and another
woman as he called police.
"He rolled up his window and followed her," Casey said. "They
drove all across north Melbourne."
Police stopped the white sedan in Suntree. Pappalardo was
questioned and arrested. Her 6-year-old boy sat on the trunk
of the car and cried as his mother was led away.
Roy Baijnath, the tow truck driver who lives in Palm Bay, said
he was concerned about the child's safety.
"You know, I have mixed feelings. To see the kid crying like
that on TV was tough. I caused that upon him, and I have a kid
of my own," Baijnath said Friday night. "But had it been the
other way, where would the child be?"
Mallory Acker, who was in the car with Pappalardo, told police
that the tow truck driver requested sex with the woman in
exchange for gas money.
"When she refused, he made up this story for police," Acker said.
No other arrests were made.
Baijnath said Friday night that there was no mention of sex in
The child is in the care of his father, police said.