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Bogus Ad Puts Child Up For Sale on Xbox Live

Evidently, someone advertised a woman's daughter for sale on Microsoft's Xbox Live service, and is now under criminal investigation.

Sometimes a joke between friends can be a good thing, other times they may be inappropriate and hurtful. In a working environment, an ill-injected joke can bring on legal issues. But when jokes hit the public and involve innocent children, the perpetrators behind the seemingly-innocent crime deserve a legal foot where the sun don't shine, especially when the subjected child can barely talk.

This morning, Florida's Charlotte Sun and Weekly Herald reported that an unnamed party posted a faulty ad on Microsoft's Xbox Live service, claiming that a 2-year-old girl was for sale, shipping paid in full. The child's mother, 23-year-old Christa Manos of Punta Gorda, Florida, was clueless of the advertisement until her phone started ringing off the hook this past Saturday evening. Manos recalled the first telephone call that night, with the caller sounding furious and scolding her for putting a price tag on the child.

After the initial call, Manos believed it to be a prank. However, more calls came in, and continued to steadily ring throughout the night. They came from across the United States, giving her a piece of their mind, cursing at her, calling her a bad mother. Manos remained confused until she received the 19th call. By then, she had a gut feeling that something was going on. "I knew something wasn't right," she said.

After contacting the police, she was lead to the Xbox Live message displaying her 2-year-old daughter's face, the home telephone number, and a brief message. "When I saw it, I wanted to hurt someone," Manos told the Charlotte Sun. What makes matters worse, Manos said that she had an idea who posted the ad.

At this point, it doesn't matter if the ad was a joke or posted on purpose. The Charlotte County Sherriff's office, still conducting the investigation, said that the perpetrator could face charges regarding criminal use of information. Still, it would be poetic justice to catch and arrest this fool, and then post a screenshot of this person living the good life bent over in a jail cell Shawshank-style on Xbox Live.

Did this XBL subscriber go too far, or are the authorities and the child's mother overreacting?