Hours before intervention, mom drinks herself unconscious in car with infant daughter—who froze to death in single-digit temps: Docs

An Indiana mother who vanished with her 3-month-old daughter Monday was allegedly near a bottle of rum—and feet away from her dead baby—when authorities found them a day later.

A probable cause affidavit obtained by WXIN stated that Rachel McAfee, 36, was wearing thin clothing and appeared intoxicated when police found her and her deceased daughter in her SVU, which was out of gas and had a dead battery. Court documents detailed how Emma McAfee was on the passenger-side floorboard and “cold to the touch” as medics pronounced her dead Tuesday afternoon.

It was reportedly 9 degrees at the time of the grisly discovery. The news station reported that an autopsy performed on the infant Wednesday “found signs that are consistent with cold-related deaths.”

The affidavit also alleged Rachel “had short term memory loss about the death of her child and no concept of time” when a detective interviewed her at the hospital, according to the Indianapolis Star.

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The pair were reported missing Monday evening by Rachel’s husband, who police said claimed Rachel was supposed to drop Emma off at his parent’s before she went to an intervention regarding her drinking. Documents stated her husband also alleged Emma, who was born underweight and two weeks early, missed a February 22 doctor’s appointment because Rachel drank herself unconscious.

Prosecutors believe that Rachel instead parked a block away from her in-laws’ residence and consumed alcohol until she passed out. The Star reported that a neighbor called police after finding the broken-down SUV when she returned from work. That morning, the neighbor encountered the same car containing Rachel, who was reportedly holding Emma and assured them they were fine.

WBIC reported Rachel, a mother-of-two, was suffering from postpartum depression and alcoholism at the time of her brief disappearance.

“It’s up and down,” her husband told the news station.

“When she’s sober, she’ll listen and have discussions. When she’s drinking, she just completely throws everything out the window and starts over back at scratch.”

Rachel McAfee was charged with neglect of a dependent causing death. As of Thursday, she remained hospitalized and had not been transferred to jail.


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[Featured image: Emma, Rachel McAfee/Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department]