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Man charged with trying to sell son

November 28, 1997

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) _ A man charged with trying to sell his 15-month-old son for a used car and cash said he was only trying to give the boy ``a better life.″

A man who had been the boy’s foster father from the time he was five weeks old until last summer notified authorities that Kenneth Mark Vogelpohl, 37, had offered to trade the boy for cash and a car.

Vogelpohl had contacted Bill Gordon and his wife, who live in Hagerstown, on Nov. 16 and said he ``would have to relocate and would need a car and $5,000,″ according to court documents.

Vogelpohl said he did ask for a loan and use of a car, but never offered to sell his son. He said he wanted to give the boy to Gordon independently of the money.

``We were trying to give Kenny a better life,″ he said Thursday, a day after being arrested.

Vogelpohl said he cannot work because of medical problems and the boy’s mother, Julie Tilafian, doesn’t make much money. Maryland State Police interviewed Ms. Tilafian but did not charge her.

A state trooper posing as a friend went with Gordon to meet Vogelpohl on Wednesday. Court documents said Vogelpohl accepted $100 and the title to the car, with the balance of the money to be paid on Friday.

He then handed over his son, police said.

Vogelpohl was charged with offering to sell, barter or trade a child, a misdemeanor punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was held on $15,000 bond pending a bail hearing Monday.

The child has been placed in the custody of Washington County Social Services.

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