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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Joplin Day Care Operator Charged with Attempting to Kidnap Client's Baby

Scheme Involved Taking the Baby to Arkansas for Adoption

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., day care operator was charged in federal court today with attempting to kidnap the infant daughter of a client and take the infant to Arkansas to be adopted by another couple.

Lasonya Poindexter, 30, of Joplin, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Mo. Poindexter, who was arrested on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.

According to an affidavit filed in support of today’s criminal complaint, Poindexter began taking care of a Joplin couple’s two children at her home day care in April 2017. Poindexter allegedly contacted a couple in Lincoln, Ark., and began making arrangements for the couple to adopt one of those children, a five-month-old daughter identified in court documents as Jane Doe 1. The infant’s parents had never put Jane Doe 1 up for adoption, nor had they ever told anyone that Jane Doe 1 was available to be adopted.

Poindexter made at least four trips to Lincoln so that the Arkansas couple could spend time with Jane Doe 1, the affidavit says, with each visit lasting two to three hours. Jane Doe 1’s parents had never given Poindexter permission to take their daughter across state lines to Arkansas and were unaware that any of the trips occurred. The Arkansas couple usually met with Poindexter at the home of Poindexter’s aunt, but one visit was at the couple’s own home (where they had prepared a nursery room for Jane Doe 1).

Poindexter falsely told the Arkansas couple that the infant’s mother had left her baby at Poindexter’s house and wanted her to find a good family for Jane Doe 1, the affidavit says, because she was the product of a rape. Poindexter told the Arkansas couple that Jane Doe 1’s mother wanted a closed adoption. Poindexter had sent the Arkansas couple a photo (screen shot), via Facebook Messenger, of a legal document purported to be from an attorney regarding the adoption. The attorney later told investigators he had never represented Poindexter, had any communication with her and was not involved with any adoption proceeding with Jane Doe 1.

According to the affidavit, the Arkansas couple became suspicious that the adoption was not valid, the affidavit says, but Poindexter continued to reassure them.

On July 20, 2017, after being contacted by the Arkansas couple, Jane Doe 1’s parents contacted law enforcement.

Larson cautioned that the charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the FBI and the Missouri Division of Family Services.

Updated September 14, 2017