A Delaware mother accused of selling her baby and the Philadelphia man accused of buying him for $15,000 both pleaded guilty on Thursday.
Last October, Bridget Wismer, 34, was arrested at her home in New Castle, Del. after she and the alleged baby buyer, John Gavaghan, 55, of Philadelphia, were caught on a surveillance camera taking care of the last bit of paperwork, according to New Castle County detectives. Gavaghan is not the baby’s biological father.
The baby boy was born on Aug. 31 and according to court papers, Wismer didn't want the child.
In early September, detectives were tipped off by Wismer's grandmother, according to police. They investigated, but couldn't substantiate the baby-selling accusation. In late September, police got another tip that led them to the place where Wismer and Gavaghan met to finalize the deal.
On Sept. 30, two days after Gavaghan had allegedly taken the 1-month-old boy home, police arrested Gavaghan at his Philadelphia apartment and placed the baby in foster care. Wismer was arrested that same day at her home. The two were indicted by a Superior Court Grand Jury on October 24 to dealing in children, falsifying a birth certificate and conspiracy.
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During a court appearance today, Wismer pleaded guilty but also mentally ill to one count of falsifying a birth certificate, which is a felony. Prosecutors agreed that Wismer’s guilty but mentally ill plea was appropriate in light of a psychological diagnosis provided by Psychologist Dr. Abraham Mensch. Gavaghan also pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying a birth certificate. Both Wismer and Gavaghan face up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Their sentencing is set for August 17.
Wismer’s baby remains in custody with the Department of Family Services.