3 people arrested after allegedly trading toddler for vehicle in Thomasville

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Three people are behind bars after they were accused of trading a 2-year-old for a vehicle, according to Thomasville police.

They were arrested Wednesday.

On July 23, Thomasville detectives responded to Wake Forest Baptist Health’s High Point Medical Center after a report that a 2-year-old was brought in with bruising.

Hospital staff alerted law enforcement and child protective services.

Police say Tina Marie Chavis, 47, brought the child to the hospital, saying that she was the child’s mother.

She then reportedly changed her story and said she was the child’s adoptive parent. Police say she had no documents to back up that claim.

The child was then given to a family member.

Investigators were able to find the child’s biological mother, Alice Leann Todd, 45, of Thomasville.

Police say Todd gave the child, then less than a year old, to Chavis and her husband Vicencio Mendoza Romero, 53, in exchange for a vehicle in 2018.

Police said Chavis and Romero used to watch the child but it wasn’t until last year that they agreed to take custody of her in exchange for a 1993 Plymouth Laser.

Neighbor Loretta Poole saw Chavis and Romero with the baby all the time.

“I’d see them out on the porch. She really took care of the kid,” Poole said.

Lately, she hasn’t seen the happy little girl but had no idea police had arrested the couple.

On Monday, a Davidson County Grand Jury returned true bills of indictment on Chavis, Romero and Todd for the unlawful sale, surrender or purchase of a minor.

They each received $50,000 secured bonds.

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