A sad day in Indiana, a mother has been arrested after she was discovered sprawled across her vehicles center console of her dead and freezing car with a bottle of rum, after her baby was found dead at the scene, according to reports from WXIN and WISH.
The suspect has been identified as, Rachel McAfee who now faces charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in the death of an infant.
The husband, John McAfee, reported his daughter Emma and his wife Rachel, missing on Monday when Rachel was supposed to drop her daughter off at her in-law’s house and then go to a meeting about drinking problems but did not do either one.
Early Tuesday morning, a neighbor reported seeing Rachel and Emma parked outside her house, 24 hours after being reported missing.
The neighbor told authorities that when she approached the women in the car, she asked Rachel if she was okay. Rachel was holding her daughter and replied she was fine, however when the neighbor returned home from work hours later, the vehicle was no longer running, and Rachel was slumped across the center console, no longer wearing a coat.
As paramedics arrived, they told police the baby was freezing to the touch and Rachel was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for frostbite.
According to the weather report, it was only 9 degrees outside.
The police noted that when they were searching Rachels vehicle for her belongings, they stumbled across a bottle of rum. The car was out of gas, and its battery was dead.
Marion County prosecutor told Terry Curry from WXIN, “It is a horribly tragic situation for everyone involved.”
John McAfee confirmed that his wife had struggled with alcoholism and depression saying, “She’s drank since I’ve known her, but it’s gotten out of control the last couple of years. That’s kind of when all this started spiraling.”
Just last week, police were dispatched to the couples house to check on the emotional welfare of Rachel, John also told the officers that, “Rachel is known to drink alcohol until she passes out.”
John also admitted that Emma did not show up to her last scheduled doctor’s appointment on Feb. 22 because Rachel had drunk too much alcohol and passed out.
The likely situation continues that Rachel, “Had short-term memory loss about the death of her child and no concept of time.” One attorney believes this will complicate the outcome of the case.
“Did she know for instance if the car was going to run out of gas instead of keeping the child warm? What did she know and when did she know it,” replied attorney John Tompkins.
Although, Attorney Tompkins isn’t connected to the case he believes that because alcoholism and depression are considered mental health disorders, McAfee may not have legally understood what she was doing.
“What they’ll have to show again is McAfee knew that she was endangering the child. So again, the question becomes what was the last thing she knew and when did she know it,” explained Tompkins.
However, prosecutors say this unfortunate death of a baby should send a simple message.
“You are responsible for the welfare of your child. There are mitigating circumstances here, but ultimately as a parent, you are responsible for your child,” said Curry.
The doctors who first examined Emma discovered, “signs that are consistent with cold-related deaths.” According to the Marion Country Coroner’s Office, the autopsy results are still pending.