A posting on the popular Craigslist Web site offering to give away a 5-year-old boy was a hoax posted by a father embroiled in a custody dispute, investigators said Wednesday.
The "free to good home" ad appeared in the "free stuff" section of the site. Written as though the mother had placed it, the ad read: "I've had him now for five years. I've somewhat abused him, but I cannot control myself or him. I have mental problems. DCF (state Department of Children and Families) won't remove him. His father lives in California and has no contact with him. I don't make enough money to support him and myself."
Escambia County Sheriff's spokesman Mike Ward said investigators went to the mother's Pensacola home, found the child safe and established that there had not been a DCF investigation of abuse of the boy.
It turned out the ad was placed by the boy's father, Raymond Lawrence Lee, 50, of El Cajon, Calif. Lee "admitted he did post that ad and that he did it to make the mother look bad because they are in the middle of a custody battle," Ward said.
Ward said he doubted that Lee could be charged. In San Diego, police spokeswoman Monica Munoz said the case had been referred to the Internet Crimes Against Children task force.