A former Seymour resident living in Scott County is accused of attempting to sell his two children in exchange for cash, Jennings County authorities said.
Joseph W. Gambrel, 42, asked for and received $7,500 from his children’s relatives in exchange for his parental rights to his 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, according to Maj. Jerry Shepherd of the Jennings County Sheriff’s Office.
But moments after he received the money from the children’s grandparents Wednesday morning, the Lexington, Indiana, resident was arrested by Jennings County deputies and Indiana state troopers in North Vernon, a news release stated.
The children were not present when their father was arrested, Shepherd said. Detectives are not sure whether Gambrel had been awarded full or partial custody of the children, he said.
But according to Indiana law, a person who transfers or receives any property in consideration for the termination of the care, custody or control of a person’s dependent child commits child selling.
If convicted of the Level 6 felony, Gambrel could be ordered to serve six months to two years behind bars, as well as pay a fine of up to $10,000. Formal charges, if any, will be determined by the office of Jennings County Prosecutor Alan Marshall.
After posting a $1,055 cash bond, Gambrel was released from the jail in Vernon on Thursday, jail officials said.
The children, who were living with their grandparents at the time of the incident, remain in their care, Shepherd said.
Court records show a Jackson County court lowered Gambrel’s child support payments to $80 a week in 2009.
But in June 2012, his ex-wife successfully fought for a court order requiring higher payments, and Gambrel was arrested nine months later for failing to comply with that order, court records show.