(WTVM) - What was once an early weekend morning hunt for bargains and deals, the tradition of yard sales has now taken a cyber turn for the worse.
Dozens of online yard sale and trading pages across the Chattahoochee Valley are now at the click of your fingertips through Facebook as mutual friends and complete strangers are buying and selling items galore.
But in one Columbus and Phenix City trading page, a shocking listing was posted on July 4.
"Because I was actually just scrolling like everybody does on Facebook and I just happened to see a picture," said Ron Emanuel, a member of a local yard sale group. "I immediately just focused on my nephew and I saw that it was him."
Pauline Paul, a Columbus native, wasn't a member of the Facebook group Phenix Alabama Columbus Georgia, buy, sell, or trade. However, an alarming post prompted her brother Ron to add her to the group.
"He had to add me at first but it was like the second post down," said Paul. "And that's when I saw the picture of my son."
A photo of Pauline's then 2-year-old son, Bobby, posted on the sale page.
The caption: "Highest bidder gets this cotton picker."
"Well I was immediately upset because that post is putting my child in danger," said Paul.
The Facebook user who posted the photo and caption was Dusty Younger. A complete stranger to Paul.
"The words really upset me as well because you know, "the highest bidder for this little cotton picker," which my son is not that," said Paul.
Paul said she immediately messaged Younger through Facebook Messenger asking that the offensive post is taken down.
"It kind of hurt me because like I said, I don't know who this lady is, I don't even know how she got the picture because my page is private," said Paul.
"Her making that type of post at the end of the day, that's a child, that's not a grown up. It's an innocent child and you shouldn't make those posts," said Paul.
Facebook users in the nearly 5,000 member yard sale group became outraged at Younger's post. Many users commenting and reporting the post as racially targeting.
Multiple users directly responded to Younger's racial comments.
Younger's profile lists the Facebook user as a single female living in Linda, California. The profile picture shows a woman along with a young child.
News Leader 9 reached out to Younger for comment on the situation and she replied she was open to setting up a video chat interview. Younger said she wanted to "clear her name from that fake profile post," in a message sent to WTVM.
Younger also claimed she lived in Texas, not California during the message responses to a WTVM reporter.
But just one day later when the time came to video chat with Younger, she blocked the WTVM reporter on Facebook investigating the incident.
"I know at one point she did say if you're not going to bid then stop commenting and stuff like that," said Paul.
Members of the group continued to comment on the post, outraged.
Many members tagged the yard sale page's group administrators listed as Faith Wilds, Robert Irwin, and Matt Barney. However, Barney specifically struck a tune with the group, as he began commenting his own opinions on the post and refused to take the post down. News Leader 9 ran Barney's profile picture through a photo data base and the results matched the photo with American serial killer Dennis Rader through Google.
Paul said Barney refused to remove the racially targeting posts and said Barney seemed to be giving Younger a "free pass" when it comes to posting racially charged comments in the group.
"He condoned it," said Paul.
We reached out to Barney through Facebook for comment on the incident and he said, "I told the other members of the group I'm not a babysitter and I also told them Facebook has a feature that allows you to block people."
Barney also went on using explicit language referring to many of the Facebook group users complaining about the post of Pauline's son as "crybabies," saying they should just block Younger and move on.
Just one day later, Barney decided to archive the group and remove Younger.
But Pauline said the damage is already done.
"At this point it just makes me feel unsafe. It makes me feel uncomfortable.This whole post," said Paul.
Pauline filed a police report the same night Younger posted the photo. Columbus Police said the case remains under investigation.
"I feel like we should be past those times in our life and those types of posts should not be made," said Paul.
If you would like to learn more about how to block someone on Facebook click here.