Indy woman charged with neglect for the death of her 3-month-old daughter is back behind bars following a second tragedy

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INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman charged with neglect for the death of her 3-month-old daughter is back behind bars following a second tragedy.

With single digit temperatures in March 2019, the search for a missing mother and her daughter came to a tragic end.

Police booking photo of Rachel McAfee from 2019

Three-month-old Emma died inside a freezing car and prosecutors charged her mother Rachel McAfee with neglect of a dependent causing death.

McAfee was allegedly found intoxicated inside the car, which had had a dead battery after running out of gas.

After being released on bond for more than two years while awaiting trial, McAfee is now being held without bond at the Marion County jail.  Court records show she has continued to struggle with alcoholism.

Prosecutors claim McAfee has repeatedly violated the terms of her release by using alcohol or missing tests 25 times just this year.

A petition to revoke bond details how in April, with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, McAfee gave birth at Hancock Regional hospital to a child who did not survive.

Police booking photo of Rachel McAfee from April 2021

“These types of cases are very difficult for the prosecutor’s office to prove and file charges,” said Mario Massillamany.

In court records prosecutors argued that because another child died in McAfee’s care while she was intoxicated, they’re concerned for her welfare and the welfare of others.

Mario Massillamany isn’t connected to the case but says McAfee can only be charged with the second death if her actions are deemed intentional.

“She needs to intend for the child to die or have a reasonable belief that the child would die by her actions,” said Massillamany.

McAfee’s attorney believes the case highlights the need for more mental health and substance abuse programs in the state and on that issue, he’s not alone.

“I completely agree,” said Massillamany. “These people are untreated and in the community without the help they need. So, if we had programs to help them, that would be extremely beneficial for these people not to commit additional crimes while waiting for their case to be heard.”

Right now, McAfee is scheduled to go to trial in August, but that date has been delayed more than a half dozen times already.

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