Mom leaves baby in hot car while drinking in local Mexican restaurant, police say

ARLINGTON, Tenn. — A local mother is accused of leaving her baby inside an unattended vehicle in the summer heat while she went into a restaurant for a “drink,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by FOX13.

Rachel Vanwagner, 26, is charged with child abuse and neglect. The charge stems from an incident on June 24.

Two people were walking in the parking lot of an Arlington restaurant when they heard a baby crying.

Police were called to a restaurant on Highway 70 in Arlington after two people walking in the parking lot heard a baby crying. They then saw the baby in the backseat of a car that was not running, according to the affidavit.

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Police arrived and saw the baby in the vehicle. Officers said the doors were unlocked and the windows were partially opened.

It was 92° outside at the time.

Officers removed the baby from the vehicle and provided medical treatment. A woman, later identified as Vanwagner, then ran out of restaurant with no shoes and told police the baby was hers and she had been inside for 30 minutes for one “drink,” according to police documents.

Police said Vanwagner was aware she left he child inside the vehicle with the engine turned off.
Vanwagner refused to give any further statement, according to the affidavit of complaint. She was arrested, and the child was given to a family member.