Police search for man trying to sell baby

Surveillance camera catches pair at complex

Orange Park police need help to identify this man, who they say was trying to trade a baby for food.
Orange Park police need help to identify this man, who they say was trying to trade a baby for food.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Police are searching for a man they say was trying to trade a baby boy for food at a Florida motel.

The Orange Park Police Department said the man was going door-to-door at a Rodeway Inn near Interstate 295 about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, trying to trade the infant for food.

"Then we hear a knock on the door. Just one hit. We got up and looked out," said Jennifer Rogillio. "Gentleman's carry the baby, 6 to 9-months old, by his hands."

"He was holding the baby like it was a doll. That's what it looked like at first," said Brian Boyle. "It looked like a doll. That's why I questioned him, 'Yo, what are you doing?'"

Rogillio and Boyle said they saw the man with the baby outside their room Saturday night. They said the man was slinging the child around carelessly.

"I was infuriated. That's why I called police to start with. It's sick. I mean, he could have dropped that baby. He was holding it upside down almost like a football," said Rogillio.

"He just told my old lady about it. Wanting some food for the baby," said Robert, who told WJTX-TV in Jacksonville that he called the police after the man tried using the baby as barter for food. "Tried to give us the baby for some food."

Robert said he and his wife were shocked by the proposition. His wife immediately told the man no and Robert tried to confront him.

"When I stood up, he disappeared, and nobody's seen him since," said Robert.

Police also said they believe the man and the infant may have left a nearby McDonalds between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturday.

"We are attempting to identify the man and infant to determine the status and welfare of the child," said Detective Garry Briggs in a statement.

According to witnesses, a man matching the subject in the surveillance photos and a baby were picked up outside the restaurant by a taxi cab. Both the subject and infant were accompanied by a white female.

Police said they have checked with local cab companies, but show no records of any call to this location, indicating the driver may have given them a ride off the meter.

"You've got to imagine or wonder whether or not this baby is in some kind of danger. If he doesn't get any food or any money for the child, you've got to wonder what is he going to do with the child or attempt to do with the child," said WJTX-TV Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson. "So, it's very important for anyone that's got information on this individual. If the cab driver knows where, remembers where he dropped them off, it's going to be very important that they cooperate with with law enforcement officials immediately."

It's unclear if the child was abducted or is the man's, but no reports of missing children have been made, said detectives.

Police are asking any taxi cab driver who may have picked these subjects, or anyone who had any contact with this man or can help identify the child, to call Orange Park Police Department at 904-264-5555.