Woman who left baby on car roof freed from jail - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Woman who left baby on car roof freed from jail

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Catalina Clouser Catalina Clouser
Manuel Pena Manuel Pena

PHOENIX - It's one of the most bizarre and disturbing cases of child abuse that they've seen in a while, investigators say.

The parents of a 6-week old baby appeared in court Monday.

The baby's mother is accused of placing the infant in a car seat on the roof of the car, and then driving away.

According to police, both parents, just 19 years old, had been smoking marijuana late Friday night before this all happened. Police say the child's mom drove about 12 miles before she realized her baby was missing.

19-year-old Catalina Clouser said nothing as she stood before a judge, accused of doing drugs and then driving off, with her baby, on top of her car.

"The defendant had smoked marijuana before getting into the car," the prosecutor told the judge.

According to court papers, this started near 51st Avenue and Peoria.

Clouser and the baby's father, 19-year-old Manuel Pena, brought the infant to a park where they smoked marijuana.

As they headed back to Pena's house, police pulled him over for driving erratically. They say he'd nearly gotten into an accident.

Pena was charged with aggravated DUI with a passenger under the age of 15. He had nothing to say when we knocked on his door.

Clouser told police it was because of his arrest that she smoked 1 to 2 bowls more at a friend's house near 45th Avenue and West Cholla.

Her baby was asleep in his car seat when she left. She placed him on the roof of her Ford Focus, drove off. She had no idea he had tumbled to the ground just blocks from where she'd started.

"The car seat toppled and it was discovered by a motorist later in an intersection. And the baby wasn't harmed but it was a very scary dangerous event," said the prosecutor.

Her child is now in CPS custody.

Clouser faces charges of aggravated DUI as well as child abuse. She was released on bond, ordered to wear an electronic bracelet.

She is not allowed to drive with anyone under the age of 18.

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