Just 'one drink': Mom allegedly left baby in hot car to go celebrate National Tequila Day, according to authorities

Rachel Vanwagner has been charged with child abuse and neglect after she allegedly left her baby in a hot car to celebrate National Tequila Day in a bar. (Photo: Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

While taking part in National Tequila Day on Tuesday, a 26-year-old mother, Rachel Vanwagner, allegedly chose to have a margarita and left her baby in her hot car in a restaurant’s parking lot, according to authorities.

Vanwagner, according to NBC12, allegedly left her baby in a car and then entered the Cazadores Mexican Grill in Arlington, Tenn. Police were initially notified of the baby by people who heard it crying in the restaurant’s parking lot at about 7 p.m.

Shelby County sheriff’s deputies found a baby in the back seat of a parked vehicle that was not running. According to NBC12, first responders said the outdoor temperature at the time was 92 degrees. The mother, according to deputies, had rolled down the car’s windows slightly, and the doors were unlocked.

First responders removed the baby from the car to give her medical treatment, and at that point Vanwagner ran out of the restaurant barefoot. She informed deputies that she had been inside the restaurant for around 30 minutes to “have one drink.”

NBC12 reported that Vanwagner was arrested and charged with child abuse and neglect. The child, according to WREG, is staying with relatives.

A man who had initially spotted the child in the car told WREG, “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.” The man, who wished not to be identified, believed the child to be around 6 months old. He added, “The child was hot. We could tell that she was sweating, but we knew she wasn’t in immediate danger yet. …

“[The mother] seemed almost hysterical,” the man said. “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.”

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