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3-month-old found dead after child, mom were reported missing

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 3-month-old infant was found dead Tuesday after being reported missing with its mother earlier in the day, police said late Tuesday afternoon. 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to a death investigation about 2:55 p.m. to the house in the 2600 block of Stanford Court. That’s in a subdivision southwest of I-465 and Township Line Road. 

The mother, 36-year-old Rachel McAfee, had been found alive with the baby, Emma, in the mother’s car on Stanford Court. A neighbor in the area had reported the car to police. 

Police did not discuss how the woman ended up in the northwest-side neighborhood, but said family members live nearby.

McAfee was taken to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital with what police describe as cold weather injuries. Police were questioning McAfee and no criminal charges have been filed as of Wednesday morning.

Before McAfee and her baby were located, police said she had last been seen Monday leaving for work with child. She was driving a 2011 silver Subaru Forester. 

John McAfee, husband to Rachel and father of Emma, said his wife never showed up at his parents’ house to drop off Emma Monday, and did not show up at an 11 a.m. meeting. 

“She’s just had some pre-existing issues from her past and just tried to drown them out sometimes. She’s got some depression and all that mixed in with it as well,” said Mr. McAfee in an interview before his wife and daughter were found. 

At the time, Mr. McAfee said he didn’t know why his wife left. He said she never threatened to leave before although she had threatened to harm herself in the past.

“Just want my family home,” he said. “I’m just extremely stressed. It’s hard to find words.”

IMPD said its investigation will include looking at McAfee’s alcoholism and post-partum depression. She had been described as suicidal. 

Police had earlier said Rachel McAfee is from the town of Cumberland, which straddles the Marion and Hancock county line on the far east side. 

John McAfee had said his wife works part-time and they have a son in elementary school as well. She had been to counseling before. 

IMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Christopher Bailey spoke to the media after speaking with family members on-scene Tuesday. 

“Unfortunately I’m not here to share any happy news at conclusion of missing persons investigation,” Dep. Chief Bailey said. “They found our missing person, the mother and little Emma inside the vehicle. Medics were called. Medics pronounced the infant deceased on the scene.”

When pressed about whether charges will be filed, IMPD would not say while homicide investigators are looking at the case. 

“Homicide detectives are investigating this incident. They’ve spoken to family members,” said Bailey, adding that investigators had been considering issuing a Silver Alert because of the issues the mother was suffering from. 

John McAfee was on-scene Tuesday near his wife’s car. Dep. Chief Bailey said McAfee would not be allowed to see his wife and daughter.

“It’s not something we can allow to happen.  We’ve had that discussion with the father. It was not an easy thing to do being a father myself,” Bailey said, “it’s not something we can allow him to do, being a criminal investigation at this point.” 

(Below, listen to the IMPD news conference from the scene near Stanford Court. App users can view the video online.)

(Richard Essex’s report from News 8 at 6.)