The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 7, 2013

Case involving posed baby-for-car swap dismissed

— The case of a Webb City woman accused of trying to swap another woman’s unborn child for a used car was dismissed Thursday in Jasper County Circuit Court.

The prosecution of Lana Y. Banks, 46, on a felony charge of trafficking in children was deferred a year ago on condition that she complete 80 hours of community service. Kurt Benecke, assistant prosecutor, said the charge was being dismissed now that Banks has completed the community service and has stayed out of trouble for a year.

Banks was arrested two years ago after an investigation prompted by a prospective adoptive couple’s call to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The couple reported that Banks offered in January 2011 to help them procure another woman’s unborn child for adoption in exchange for a used car. She reportedly suggested that the vehicle be worth at least $3,000 to $3,500.

The baby in question was born in early March of that year at a Joplin hospital, where Banks was taken into custody by an investigator with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department. The Missouri Department of Social Services temporarily took the baby into protective custody while the investigation of the matter remained pending.