Baby allegedly left unattended in a hot car while mom was out at a restaurant drinking tequila: Reports
Rachel has been charged with child abuse and neglect in connection with the alleged incident. People who were there in the parking lot heard the baby crying and called the police
A 26-year-old Tennessee mother allegedly left her baby girl in the car, unattended, last week while she went to a restaurant to drink on the occasion of National Tequila Day. The woman has been identified as Rachel Vanwagner. The incident took place on Tuesday (July 24) in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant on Highway 70 in Arlington. Rachel has been charged with child abuse and neglect in connection with the alleged incident. The matter came to light after people who were there in the parking space heard the baby crying. They immediately called the police in order to further investigate the incident. Upon arriving, the police found the baby in the back seat of the car.
As reported by People, the police realized that the car was not running and the baby was left inside the car with the window partially opened and doors unlocked. The police then first took the infant out of the car and had a medical checkup done on her to make sure she was alright. While the police stayed with the baby, Rachel came out of the restaurant barefoot and said that the baby had been inside the car for nearly half an hour.
She further told the police that she had gone to the restaurant to just have one drink. In the documents that were obtained by WHBQ, it was stated that at the time the police discovered the baby, the temperature was 92 degrees and when the baby was removed from the car, she was sweating.
“When you walk outside you don’t expect to hear a baby in a car and when you do immediately as a parent you perk up,” said the man who, along with his wife, first called authorities. “The child was hot,” he further added. “We could tell that she was sweating, but we knew she wasn’t in immediate danger yet.” As for Rachel, the man noted, "She seemed almost hysterical."
“Maybe that she got caught or maybe that her baby was in the arms of a paramedic. I don’t know, tough to tell, hard to put yourself in the mind of someone that would leave a baby in a car," he further added. While Rachel has been arrested, her child has been placed with Rachel's mother while she is taken into custody. The baby's cries signalled her distress as according to San Francisco State University, a vehicle left in 90-degree temperatures for 30 minutes will have an estimated inside temperature of 124 degrees.
Dr. Jack Tsao with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center further added that children's health is at risk when they are forced to stay inside the car. "Children are actually at greater risk for overheating because their ability to regulate their body's temperature is actually less and the skin surface area is different from an adult’s," he said. He further noted that Rachel is lucky that nothing happened to her child.
Ceselio Torres, co-owner of Cazadores Mexican Grill said that the incident broke his heart. "It's very upsetting for me," he said. "I have little girls and I always think about them first then me." Rachel has since been released on an unspecified amount of bond but the Department of Child Services has been notified.