Mother pleads not guilty to driving off with baby on her car

Catalina Clouser, 19, was in court Tuesday where she pleaded not guilty to child abuse.

Catalina Clouser, 19, was in court Tuesday where she pleaded not guilty to child abuse.

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by Andrew Michalscheck

azfamily.com

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 2:35 PM

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PHOENIX -- The Valley woman accused of driving away from a Phoenix home with her 1-month-old baby on her car has denied the allegations.

Catalina Clouser, 19, was in court Tuesday where she pleaded not guilty to child abuse.

Police were called to the area of 45th Avenue and Cholla Street earlier this month after Clouser’s baby was found abandoned in the street.

Two witnesses approached officers as they were investigating the scene and said the child was Clouser’s.

The witnesses went on to say that they had been smoking marijuana with Clouser and her boyfriend, Manuel Pena, earlier that night in a nearby park.

Clouser and Pena left to go get beer, but Pena, 19, was pulled over on the way to the store and arrested for aggravated DUI after police determined he was impaired with a baby in the vehicle.

Clouser, who was said to be upset over Pena’s arrest, reportedly drove back to the witnesses’ home and smoked more marijuana.

Clouser left the witnesses’ house later that night, but forgot that she had placed her child on top of her car in a car seat.

She realized her mistake after arriving home and called her friends to see if they could find the baby.

Clouser returned to the scene and was arrested by police.

The baby was not injured and was placed in the custody of Arizona Child Protective Services.

 

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