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Police: Man was not actually trying to sell baby for food

4:26 PM, Aug 8, 2012   |    comments
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ORANGE PARK, Florida (WTLV) -- No charges will be filed against the man who was thought to be trying sell a baby for food because further investigation showed "no credible attempt" was found of him trying to do so, according to a release from Detective Gary Briggs of the Orange Park Police Department.

The man, who is a relative of the infant, made an offhand comment to a motel patron which was interpreted by witnesses as a serious attempt to sell the baby for food, Briggs said.

Later, he was unable to find his room, which was also occupied by the baby's mother, Jamie Rathje, 32, and her other children.

The man knocked on several motel room doors trying to find Rathje. Once he returned the baby to Rathje's room, the man tried to contact another male relative staying in the room.

Rathje had been moving from motel to motel for the past few months to avoid having to put her children into a Florida Department of Children and Families shelter. As a result of the investigation, Rathje was arrested on an unrelated warrant out of Jacksonville for failure to appear.

Briggs said in the investigation "the health and welfare of the infant was always of primary concern."

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