May 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM ET
"Kid for sale, an adorable child for sale," the eBay auction began. "Can clean and hold a decent conversation. Very lovable, but I just grew out of her." Was this a joke, a misunderstanding, or a genuine attempt to sell a two-year-old girl?
An NBC affiliate, Sky News, and several other outlets are reporting on a rather peculiar story. They claim that a Michigan woman is under investigation for attempting to sell her cousin's two-year-old daughter on eBay.
The woman maintains that she was simply trying to test out how the reserve function — an eBay feature which allows a seller to set a minimum price for an auction — worked:
"I was just trying to see how this 'reserve met' thing works and...I thought well wouldn't it be funny, seeing as I have all these pictures of her on my computer to put her on there."
Whatever her motivations or reasons were, the trouble began almost as soon as the woman created the auction:
Lieutenant Mark Bennett, from Ottawa county sheriff's department, said: "An individual in south east Michigan made a bid of $1,000 and this individual, after the bid was accepted, quickly called our department thinking initially it was a hoax and wanted this posting to come down.
"At this juncture we really do not believe the child was actually going to be exchanged, we are probably talking more about a false pretence situation."
There are suggestions that the ad was part of a "bizarre scheme to get money," even if the woman may not have genuinely intended to hand the child to a stranger.
No one seems to have all the details on this peculiar story though. The woman's name is not mentioned in reports and the original auction appears to have disappeared even from Google's cache. All we know is that local authorities are looking into the issue and that the child involved is hopefully safe and sound.