A 17-year-old who was too afraid to tell her parents that she had had a baby helped her boyfriend concoct a story about buying the infant for $10 from a man who offered to sell the child for drugs, police say.

The tale worked for a day before the 18-year-old father, Robert Garcia, confessed on Monday that it was a lie, police said."As most young people, they were simply afraid to tell their parents," said Doug Franks, police chief in this community 30 miles south of Los Angeles.

The unidentified girl fooled her parents during her pregnancy by saying she was gaining weight, Franks said. She gave birth Saturday.

The baby was unharmed.

Garcia told police he was walking through a shopping center parking lot Saturday night when a man in a car offered to trade the baby for drugs. The baby, he told police, was wrapped in a dirty T-shirt, crying in the back seat.

Garcia said he offered $10 instead and was given the baby. He took it to a church, and the baby was taken to a children's home.