Mom left baby in hot car while she drank inside restaurant, police say

Mom left baby in hot car while she drank inside restaurant, police say
Published: Jul. 25, 2018 at 4:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2018 at 6:06 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Investigators say what started as a night of drinking ended with a trip to jail for one mother.

According to investigators, Rachel Vanwagner, 26, left her child in a hot car while she went to have a drink on National Tequila Day.

People walking in the parking lot of Cazadores Mexican Grill in Arlington around 7 p.m. heard a baby crying. They called 911.

Deputies found a baby in the back seat of a Ford that was not running. The windows in the car were partially left open and the doors were unlocked.

First responders removed the baby from the car and gave her medical treatment.

That's when Vanwagner came running barefoot out of the restaurant. She told deputies she had been inside for about 30 minutes. She said she'd gone inside to have one drink.

First responders said it was 92 degrees when they pulled the baby from the hot car.

Dr. Jack Tsao with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center said that means temperatures inside the car, were much hotter.

According to San Francisco State University, a vehicle left in 90-degree temperatures for 30 minutes will have an estimated inside temperatures of 124 degrees.

"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," Tsao said.

Tsao said Vanwagner is lucky things didn't end worse.

"It's very upsetting for me," said Ceselio Torres, co-owner of Cazadores Mexican Grill.

Torres said as a father, hearing about the incident is heartbreaking.

"I have little girls and I always think about them first then me," Torres said.

Vanwagner has been charged with child abuse and neglect.

The affidavit states Vanwagner refused to give a statement and her child was released to her mother.

The Department of Child Services has been notified.

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