2 Texas women charged for buying, selling baby

In some places in the US, it’s economy is that bad that people are now selling their baby.

ABILENE, Texas (AP) — A West Texas woman is accused of buying a 7-week-old infant from the child’s mother for $2,000 — to be paid in installments, Abilene police said Friday.

The woman, Marilu Munoz, 27, and the child’s mother, Joana Delacruz Huerta, 29, were charged late Thursday with the sale or purchase of an infant, a third-degree felony, police said.

Police said they found out about the alleged sale from an anonymous tip Thursday morning.

Some of the scheduled payments had already occurred, police Sgt. Lynn Beard said.

“It was a one-on-one kind of thing, just someone who wanted a baby,” Beard said.

Huerta remained in the Taylor County Jail on $5,000 bond. Munoz was released after posting bail Friday. Neither woman could be reached for comment, and no attorneys were listed for either of them in jail records.

Police said Huerta admitted that she had been pregnant and told officers where she thought the baby might be. Police found the child at an Abilene residence unharmed.

Police said they did not know who the baby’s biological father was or how the two women had initially crossed paths. Munoz’s husband, an illegal immigrant whose name was not released, was placed on an immigration hold at the county jail, Beard said.

“The first priority was finding the child,” Beard said.

The infant was taken into custody by Child Protective Service, authorities said.

“We have placed her in a foster home where she is being nurtured and loved,” said CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner.

The agency anticipates going to court in the next few weeks where a judge will determine temporary custody.

Beard said the police investigation is ongoing and authorities don’t know why the people involved did not go through an adoption agency. He said he expects additional charges to be filed.

“It’s the first time in my 13 years (in law enforcement) that I remember this happening,” Beard said.

Mark T. McDermott, legislative director for the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, said “The vast majority of adoptions are done carefully and legally and with a lot of court scrutiny.”

Baby-selling is a far cry from legal adoption in several ways but “in adoption, you’re not allowed to pay the birth mother or birth father,” McDermott said. Although a birth mother can be reimbursed for her living expenses in some states, there are very strict laws about what can and can’t be paid and “no money is paid to the birth mother,” the lawyer said.

10 Most Respected Countries in the World

What gives a nation its good reputation? An effective and even-keeled government, sure. A desirable atmosphere and environment, of course. And today, more than at any other time in recent memory, a stable, advanced economy.

But how do you measure a country’s reputation? Why, you take a poll, that’s how. After surveying some 42,000 people across the globe, where respondents were asked to measure the quality of life, safety, environmental** and economic perceptions of the world’s countries, here are the most respected countries on earth. Where does Canada fall? Click through to find out.

* Survey performed by corporate consulting firm Reputation Institute. Reputation scores out of 100.
** Survey respondents were asked to measure a nation’s environment by considering how beautiful and enjoyable the country is, whether or not it offers a pleasant lifestyle and whether or not the people are friendly and welcoming (Toronto, ahem).


10. The Netherlands.

Reputation score: 68.7

The Reputation Institute asked its survey participants to measure each nation across nine categories: the government’s performance, its economic outlook, its environmental appeal and how much they’d like to visit, invest, live, work, study and buy products from that country. What do people respect the Netherlands for? According to the global poll, the Netherlands is the ninth-most desired country to work in, and the seventh-most desired country to live in the world.



9. Austria

Reputation score: 69.4

People consider Austria to have a strong economy — it cracks the top 10 of countries respondents say they would recommend investing in — but perhaps a better illustration of the respect Austria gets on the world’s scale is to compare it against other European nations. With a reputation score of 69.4, Austria is much more highly regarded than its continent mates Ireland (63.88), Poland (60.87) and Turkey (46.88).



8. Finland

Reputation score: 70.5

The Reputation Institute also asked survey participants to rank how they feel about their own countries — how they believe their home nation stacks up against the rest of the world. The Finns? They think pretty highly of themselves. According to the survey results, Finland scored an 84.56 on the self-perception scale, the third-highest sum in the poll. Compare that to its eighth-place finish when all other survey participants were asked to gauge the country.



7. Denmark

Reputation score: 71.9

Respondents to Reputation Institute’s survey think Denmark’s economy is strong. So strong, in fact, that it’s the fourth-highest scoring economy on this list. But that’s not the only positive economic indicator for the Danes. According to the poll results, Denmark is the seventh-most desired country in which to work and the ninth-most desired country to invest in.




6. Norway (Tie)

Reputation score: 73.1

Norway ties with another nation as the sixth-most respected country on earth, and indeed, six is the magic number here. According to Reputation Institute’s survey, Norway is also the sixth-most desired country to study in and the sixth-most desired country to work in. Only two European nations are more respected on earth than Norway.




5. New Zealand (Tie)

Reputation score: 73.1

With a reputation score of 73.1, New Zealand, surely, is a well-respected country by the rest of the world’s estimation. But ask Kiwis how they feel about New Zealand and it’s clear domestic pride doesn’t run short. New Zealanders gave their home nation a self-perception score of 89.69, the highest pat-on-the-back score given in the entire Reputation Institute survey.




4. Switzerland

Reputation score: 74.2

Though it scores at No. 4 on this list, few nations are as respected across the board as Switzerland. According to the Reputation Institute survey, Switzerland is thought to have the most effective government on earth, the fourth-most advanced economy and the second-most appealing environment. Switzerland is also seen as the second-most desirable country to work in and the nation people would feel most comfortable investing in.



3. Australia

Reputation score: 74.3

Australians think highly of their homeland — its self-perception score of 87.28 is the second-highest of all surveyed nations — and it seems pride in the country is shared by the rest of the world. Australia may well be the most desired nation for tourists across the globe; according to the survey results, Australia is home to the most appealing environment on earth and is the No. 1 country respondents said they’d most recommend visiting.



2. Sweden

Reputation score: 74.7

Sweden falls just short of the distinction of being the world’s most respected nation. But its economic traits are not to fault. According to the survey, Sweden is the fourth-most desired nation to work in and the fourth-most desired nation to invest in. And, in the eyes of the world, only Japan and Germany have a more advanced economy than Sweden, making the Swedish economy the top financial system to appear on this list.



1. Canada

Reputation score: 74.8

Oh, Canada! By self-perception standards, Canadians gave their home nation a score of 84.33, good for No. 4 in the Reputation Institute poll. But perhaps Canuck pride should ring out even more. According to some 42,000 survey respondents, Canada is the most respected country in the world, setting a standard for its level-headed economy and appealing environment. By the estimation of the world, Canada has the sixth-most advanced economy on earth, the fourth-most effective government and is the nation people say they’d like most to both live and work in when given the choice of any country around the globe.