A US soldier stationed in South Korea was devastated when his wife revealed that their child had died at birth.

But just a month later Sgt Steven Garcia, 24, found out the truth. The baby boy was alive and had been allegedly sold to another couple by his wife.

And Garcia wasn't the biological father.

It has been a roller coaster of revelations that have left Garcia fighting for custody of the baby boy and his estranged wife, Marina Garcia, pleaded guilty to a felony, the Daily Mail reports.


The story begins in January, when Garcia - who is a patrol supervisor in Seoul - was told that Marina, 31, had given birth to a baby girl who died during childbirth.

"When my sister called me about that, it was pretty emotional," Garcia told KVOA.

"We cried quite a bit together over the phone. It was devastating."

But the baby, who was born in Arizona on February 2, was alive - and a boy.

Marina had given her son to longtime friends Leslie and Alex Hernandez.

The truth was discovered by an Arizona highway patrolman, who pulled the couple over for speeding while they were driving back to their home in Texas with the child.

He noticed the couple seemed nervous and began to question them, the trooper later told investigators.

That's when he learned they were not the biological parents of the baby boy, who was just three days old.

Alex Hernandez later admitted he had fraudulently signed the birth certificate as the boy's father so that they could take the child.

Garcia's relatives, who have named the boy Leo, claim Garcia sold the child to Alex and Leslie Hernandez.

The Cochise County Attorney has yet to find evidence that any money changed hands between the couple and Garcia, who also claims there was no payment.

Both Alex and Leslie Hernandez pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit forgery and were each sentenced to four years of supervised probation.

Marina has pleaded guilty to a felony count of an attempted fraudulent scheme and will be sentenced next month.

Prosecutors have recommended that she be sentenced to prison.

"The only thing on [Marina's] mind was getting rid of this child," said Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre.

"This 'problem' in her life. What scares me is that if it hadn't been the Hernandez, if the couple hadn't been willing to step forward, then what person off the Internet might have been next?"

As for little Leo, he has been handed over to the Arizona's Department of Child Safety and is currently in foster care.

While the charges have been settled, the fight for Leo has only just begun.

Investigators found Marina in Sierra Vista, where she was living with her Army Specialist boyfriend.

She told detectives that she did not know who Leo's father was, but claimed it could not possibly be Garcia.

The statement shocked Garcia, who told detectives he last had sex with his wife in May 2017 - around the time of conception - before he left for South Korea.

"I was under the assumption the entire time that she was pregnant that I was the father," he said.

"When I found out...I was kind of in denial. I couldn't believe what was going on."

Messages between Marina and Garcia also proved that Marina knew her husband was under the impression that he was the father.

Garcia, who has since filed for divorce, has spent thousands of dollars flying from South Korea to Arizona to visit Leo but has still not been granted custody.

His cousin has since started a GoFundMe to help raise money for Garcia's legal and travel fees.

Garcia, who was adopted, said it doesn't matter to him that he's not Leo's biological father.

"My adopted father completely changed my life," he said. "Without him, I would not be where I am today."

"The opportunity to do that for someone else, I believe it's important. It could change the child's life and give him a better future. I believe that's the right thing to do."