Foster mom charged after she left 9-month-old in sweltering car

May 22, 2018
10:05 A.M.

The infant, who was forgotten inside the car by the foster mother, was exposed to risk for 20 long minutes before witnesses got him out.


38-year-old Claire Huenefeld of Knoxville was arrested by the police authorities on a charge of reckless child endangerment. According to WBIR, the foster mother left a 9-month-old baby inside a vehicle on a hot afternoon before entering a store with her other child.

A witness called 911 and reported that they had found a baby inside a vehicle at the Kroger Marketplace off Cedar Bluff and Kingston Pike. It was stated that the witness found the child red in the face, sweaty, and crying loudly.

The witness, as well as the manager of the store, noticed that the car was unlocked and got the baby out just in time. They applied cold water and towels to help him cool down.


During the incident, the temperature outside was reported to be around 90 degrees. This meant the vehicle could have heated up to 143 degrees.

After the help arrived, the baby was rushed to East Tennessee Children's Hospital for further treatment, and his condition improved a lot in the ambulance during his ride to the hospital. He was declared healthy with no signs of further complications.

Investigation of the surveillance video revealed that she had entered the store around 6:35 p.m. The child was taken out of the heating vehicle around 6:55 p.m.

The authorities stated that the foster mother walked out of the Kroger shopping store 15 minutes after they had arrived. She was then arrested and booked into the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility. She awaits the initial hearing for bonded arraignment for May 22.

The woman claimed during her arrest that she had forgotten about the infant with her at the car and went into the store with the other child she had.

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