HOUSTON - A family traveled more than 1,000 miles from Ohio to Houston to adopt a baby boy, only to return home empty-handed finding out they’d been scammed.
Breanne Paquin and her husband have spent the past few years battling infertility, so they decided on private adoption.
They took to social media searching for someone who wanted to provide a stable home for a new baby and a woman from Houston, Texas, answered the call. The woman said she was around five months pregnant.
The Paquins are from Akron, Ohio, so they hired a Houston-area lawyer to help with the process, they also verified the woman’s identity.
"He ran background checks, the first thing I had her do was prove her identity by sending a picture of her I.D.," Paquin said.
Along the way, she sent the Paquins pictures and ultrasound videos updating them on the baby.
"We talked about what the future looked like for all of us. We wanted to have an open adoption where she was still involved with the baby’s life," she told FOX 26.
The woman also sent them medical bills totaling more than $9,000, which they reimbursed her for.
Fast-forward to Christmas Day, the woman told them she was set to be induced later in the week. So they booked flights, rented a car, Airbnb and made their way to Houston car-seat in hand. However, the day she was supposed to be induced she told the Paquins her mom had to have open-heart surgery. Then days went by, and there was still no date set for when the baby would be born. That’s when the Paquins lawyer sat them down and told them he believed they’d been scammed.
"The lawyer and my husband actually went out to one of her last known addresses which happened to be family members of hers. They spoke with her family, who said they did not think she was pregnant at all, and they said her mom was completely fine and not in the hospital," Paquin said.
Heartbroken, the Paquins packed up and left Houston with an empty car seat and went home to an empty nursery.
"Nothing has changed, we left an empty house and we’re coming home to an empty house. But at the same time everything feels like it’s changed," Paquin said.
The family’s lawyers are working with the DA’s office and the FBI to pursue potential charges of wire fraud, but most importantly they say they want to raise awareness so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
We’ll update this story as we learn more.