DOCUMENT: Animals, Bizarre, Crime

Cops: Trio Swapped Kids For Bird

Kidnapping charges filed in birdbrained Louisiana exchange

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Cops: Trio Swapped Kids For Bird

FEBRUARY 26--A trio of Louisiana nitwits agreed to swap two young children for a $1500 cockatoo and $175, police charge.

The deranged exchange was hatched after Donna Greenwell, a 51-year-old trucker, learned that the bird was being offered for sale by Brandy Romero, 27, and Paul Romero, 46. According to Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office investigators, Brandy Romero told cops that Greenwell contacted her and said that while she could not afford the cockatoo's price tag, she did have children to trade (in a bid to sell the bird, the Romeros posted a flyer at a barn, where Greenwell spotted the notice, which included a photo of the cockatoo).

Investigators have determined that Greenwell is not the mother of the children, a four-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy. It appears as if the children, whose mother is a criminal fugitive, have resided with various families over the past several years, and have spent the past year in the custody of Greenwell, a convicted pedophile with a lengthy rap sheet.

Greenwell and the Romeros, pictured in photos released by the Evangeline sheriff, have each been charged with aggravated kidnapping. The children swapped for the bird are now living with a temporary foster family, according to investigator Keith Dupre, who added that the cockatoo was recovered from Greenwell's home, where two other birds resided. When confronted by deputies, Greenwell denied trading the children for the bird, which she claimed was simply given to her by the Romeros. (1 page)