The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) says a woman who disappeared with her 3-month-old on March 4 was located on Tuesday and faces preliminary neglect charges for the child’s death.
Rachel McAfee, 36, was last spotted leaving her home on Monday morning and is suffering from alcoholism, post-partum depression, and may also be suicidal, according to the police.
McAfee, who lives on the far east side near Cumberland, was spotted driving a 2011 silver Subaru Forester with license plate #3313RRH, when she disappeared, according to WishTV.
“Just a normal conversation. Just, ‘Hey, babe. Love you. See you later,'” he recalled. “Gave each other a kiss and walked out the door,” McAfee’s husband John McAfee had told WTHR.
— WTHR.com (@WTHRcom) March 6, 2019
Police located her in her car with the dead baby, Emma, while doing a welfare check on Tuesday afternoon on the 2600 block of Stanford Court.
McFree was taken by first responders to the hospital for frostbite treatment. She was arrested and preliminarily charged for neglect of a dependent, causing death.
The mother remains hospitalized at Eskenazi Hospital. The police are investigating and have planned an autopsy on the baby to determine the cause and manner of death.
In an interview just before she was located, John McAfee told WTHR that his wife was depressed and not her original self.
“My biggest concern is my daughter. She’s only three months old. Obviously, she can’t fend for herself. My wife can. My wife’s not the most fit mentally, currently, so that’s a big concern,” John had said just before his child was located.
— CBS4 Indy (@CBS4Indy) March 6, 2019
Hours later, the father was brought to the neighborhood where his wife and child were located, but he was not allowed near the car.
“It’s not something we can allow to happen, unfortunately. We’ve had that discussion with the father. It was not an easy thing to do,” IMPD Commander Chris Bailey told WTHR.
Police don’t know why McAfree drove 20 miles away from her home but said that the couple had relatives living nearby.
Anyone with information on the case can help investigators at Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS (8477), reports WTHR.
Missing Indianapolis baby found dead, mother in hospital https://t.co/rbqsXrivdJ
— Faith (@faith0263) March 6, 2019
McAfee’s case may raise concerns about the ability of mothers with post-partum depression to take care of their babies.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says post-partum depression is a mood disorder that can affect a mother after childbirth and can interfere with a mother’s ability to take care of her and her family.
Women with alcohol and drug abuse problems are more likely to experience post-partum depression, according to NIHM.
The focus of a lot of media attention on post-partum depression increased after a Texas mother, Andrea Yates, drowned her five children in a bathtub in 2001, according to Psychology Today.
“Having grown up expecting motherhood to be one of the best times of life, many women suffer alone, feeling miserable but unaware that postpartum mood disorders have a name,” Karen Kleiman, M.S.W., founder and director of the Postpartum Stress Center in Philadelphia told the Psychology Today.
“Anxiety? Depression? The conventional physical challenges of post-partum recovery? Any of those things could justify taking the life of a fully formed, completely viable, living infant.” https://t.co/cLmeJ6PNt5
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) January 31, 2019
The largest online screening study on postpartum depression for American women was published in JAMA Psychiatry. It says one out of seven women in the United States experience post-partum depression in the first year after giving birth.