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Couple may have tried to sell missing baby
A couple may have tried to sell 2-month-old Anthony Ceja the day after his mother was found burned to death. - photo by Photo Contributed

In a case already peppered with unusual twists, Merced County Sheriff’s detectives are now investigating the possibility that a couple tried to sell a baby that may have belonged to a homicide victim and later abandoned on a doorstep.

The latest development in the case of Ana DeCeja and her 2-month-old son Anthony Ceja merged after a person contacted the sheriff’s department, stating they had been approached about buying a baby, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

DeCeja and her son were last seen on the morning of Dec. 2 leaving their Planada residence in a 2002 Chevy Avalanche.

At 9:30 a.m. that same day, a group of farm workers in the 3000 block of Keyes Road in Snelling noticed a fire burning in the distance. As they moved closer to investigate, they discovered that it was a body that had been set ablaze.

Using dental records, the sheriff’s department later identified the remains as those of DeCeja.

The Avalanche was found Dec. 3 about seven miles from where the body was found, but Anthony was nowhere to be found. The detachable car seat had also been removed, MacKenzie said.

Now, sheriff’s investigators have said that the missing car seat was found that same day near a creek in Merced. The discovery was made by a couple walking along a path in the area of Bear Creek and Parson’s Avenue.

The individual who contacted the sheriff’s department told investigators it was also on Dec. 3 that they were approached by the couple attempting to sell a baby.

The individual said the couple approached them in the area of 27th Street and Midge Avenue in Merced. The couple was carrying a baby in a car seat and asked if the individual “wanted to buy a baby.” The witness described the car seat and it matched the one found, MacKenzie said.

The sheriff’s department is not releasing how much the couple was asking for the baby.

On Tuesday an infant was found wedged between a front door and a screen door of a home in Le Grand. The homeowners had no idea why a baby would be left on their doorstep. They contacted authorities and the baby was hospitalized for exposure. The infant boy remains in the hospital, MacKenzie said.

Investigators are awaiting the results of a DNA test to confirm the baby’s identity.

The couple was described as follows: A light-complexioned Hispanic or Caucasian male, about 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall with a thin build. He is thought to be in his early to mid 40s. He has brown hair and a full beard and was wearing a black beanie cap, brown pants and black shirt.


The woman was described as a heavy set Hispanic female with brown hair that was pulled back. She was wearing a pink shirt and jeans.

If anyone has any information or have seen this couple they are asked to call the Merced Sheriff’s Department at 385-7472.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.