A Joplin day care operator was charged today in federal court with secretly taking a client's infant daughter to Arkansas for visits with a couple with whom she was attempting to arrange an illegal adoption.

Lasonya Poindexter, 30, was arrested Wednesday and charged in U.S. District Court in Springfield with attempted kidnapping of the 5-month-old daughter of Ashley and Christian Still, of Joplin. Poindexter remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing set for Tuesday.

An affidavit filed with the charge states that Poindexter began providing day care for the couple's two children in her home in April of this year. The Stills had found Poindexter through a Facebook baby-sitter's page.

According to the affidavit, Poindexter contacted a couple in Lincoln, Arkansas, about the same time and began making arrangements for them to adopt the girl even though her parents had never put her up for adoption nor told Poindexter that she was even available for adoption.

Poindexter is accused of making at least four trips to Arkansas to allow the couple to spend time with the baby in visits lasting two to three hours. The trips were made without the Stills' knowledge or permission, according to the affidavit. The defendant told the couple in Arkansas that the baby was the product of a rape and that her mother had left her with Poindexter because she wanted her to find the child a good home.

According to the affidavit, the Arkansas couple eventually became suspicious that the adoption arrangements were not legally proper despite Poindexter's assurances that they were, according to the affidavit.

On July 20, the Arkansas couple contacted the Stills and the Stills contacted Joplin police. An investigation ensued involving police, the Southest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force, the Children's Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services and the FBI.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe.