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Mom Drives Off with 5-Week-Old Baby on Top of Car

We’ve heard of stressed out and overtired parents leaving wallets, diaper bags, and coffee cups on the tops of their cars only to remember the lost item once it was too late.  Coffee spilled at the left hand turn and dollar bills sprinkled across the supermarket parking lot. Ideal? Not so much. Understandable? Definitely. 

What’s not understandable is leaving a 5-week-old baby strapped into his car seat on top of a vehicle and then driving away. Sadly, this is exactly what 19-year-old mom Catalina Clouser did. What’s worse is that the Arizona mother didn’t even notice her son had fallen off the roof at an intersection, abandoning him in the middle of oncoming traffic. 

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Thankfully, nearby homeowner, Leilani Gerlach, notified police after she and another neighbor spotted the baby, “The car seat was turned to the side so anyone passing by wouldn’t be able to tell there was an actual baby inside. Thank god they stopped,” she told ABC News.  The car seat was scraped, but the baby unharmed. 

What explanation could this mother possibly have?  Um, it’s not a good one.

Apparently, Clouser and her boyfriend had been smoking marijuana earlier at a park with friends. Later, her boyfriend was arrested on suspicion of aggravated DUI when on their way to a store to buy beer. According to police, Clouser was so upset that her boyfriend was arrested she went to a friend’s house and smoked even more marijuana until about midnight. That’s around the time she drove off with her baby on the roof of her car, only to return to the scene after police had already arrived. 

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Officer James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department commented, “We believe that whatever she was under the influence of was the deciding factor in what did happen to this child and we’re extremely happy that for the baby this turned out well and the baby is going to be okay.”  The baby boy is now in the care of Child Protective Services and Clouser was arrested and charged with aggravated driving under the influence and child abuse.

Do you think the punishment fits the crime?  Do you believe the baby’s parents should lose custody?  

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