INDIANAPOLIS – A mother whose daughter died after being found in a freezing car has been sentenced to 16 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.
Rachel McAfee agreed to plead guilty to neglect of a dependent as part of a plea deal. Her sentence also includes 4 years of work release. A second neglect charge was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Police arrested McAfee in March 2019 after she and her daughter, 3-month-old Emma, were found inside a vehicle near Township Line Road and 96th Street. Her husband had reported them missing after McAfee failed to answer her phone.
She was supposed to drop Emma off with family members before attending a meeting. A neighbor eventually spotted their vehicle; Emma was dead when first responders arrived, and McAfee suffered “cold-related injuries.” She appeared to be intoxicated; police found a bottle of rum in the car.
The car wasn’t running when police arrived, the vehicle was out of gas and the battery was dead. The temperature at the time was nine degrees. McAfee was about a block away from her destination.
A doctor who examined Emma found “signs that are consistent with cold-related deaths.”
McAfee had been known to struggle with alcoholism and depression, according to family members. Police had been called to check on her welfare the week before the incident.