A Kingsport man has been arrested for allegedly agreeing to sell his 6-year-old daughter for $1,500 — telling his assumed buyer that he needed the money to bond his girlfriend out of jail.
Shawn Wayne Hughes, 32, of 1028 Fairway Ave., was arrested by Kingsport Police on Wednesday afternoon. He was located in the parking lot of Eastman Credit Union on Wilcox Drive, reportedly thinking that's where he'd exchange his daughter for cash.
He was instead met by Kingsport officers, who had previously listened in on his alleged verbal agreement with a concerned family member. During the phone conversation Hughes also allegedly agreed to sign over custodial rights to the buyer, a 75-year-old woman who accepted his terms under direction of police.
Hughes is charged with illegal payments in connection with placement of a child, a felony, and two counts of possession of drugs. Police say that when he was arrested they located three Clonazepam pills and two unidentified pills in his possession.
According to Kingsport police records, officers were called to a residence in the Bloomingdale area shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. The resident reported she was the grandmother of Hughes' girlfriend, and had been caring for the couple's two children since Friday.
Kingsport police records say that's when her granddaughter, Jessica April Carey, 27, was located on Clinchfield Street and arrested on a warrant out of Sullivan County. The Sullivan County jail reports the charge was for aggravated child abuse and neglect.
Approximately an hour after Carey's arrest Hughes was arrested for DUI and other charges. A KPD report says he was located driving at nearly midnight with no headlights activated. When stopped he reportedly attempted to turn his headlights on by repeatedly flipping his windshield wiper controls, then performed poorly on field sobriety tests.
According to the elderly woman's statements to police on Wednesday, Hughes had since bonded out of jail. He reportedly came to her home on Monday and asked the woman for $2,000 to bail Carey — but made no attempt to retrieve the children. The woman told police that she refused his request for cash.
The next day, Tuesday, Hughes allegedly returned to her home, this time asking for $300 in bail money. She complied with that request and he left, according to police, then returned three hours later to get one of the children, age 6.
While there he allegedly attempted to guilt the elderly woman into handing over more money, saying the reason her granddaughter was still in jail was because she refused to do so.
As the woman was relaying the events to an officer she reportedly received a call from Hughes. Under the direction of police she activated her phone's speaker.
The officer reports listening in on three separate conversations between Hughes and the elderly woman, with Hughes "repeatedly offering" to sell the 6-year-old child. He also allegedly agreed to sign over legal custody of the girl.
His reported asking price was $1,500.
Under police direction the child's great-grandmother agreed to the offer and Hughes set up a meeting place. He allegedly said he'd be in a pickup truck in the parking lot of Eastman Credit Union, where police responded to take him into custody.
Hughes was arrested and booked into the Kingsport city jail. He was arraigned Thursday morning with his bond set at $16,000, then transferred to the Sullivan County Detention Center.
Kingsport investigators say the Department of Childrens Services was notified of the incident. As of Thursday afternoon Carey also remained jailed in Blountville.