Mooresville, IN - An employee of Mooresville High School was outside in the parking lot while a pep rally was going on inside. They noticed a woman exit a parked vehicle leaving it running with the flashers on. Later, they noticed the vehicle still sitting there running they went to investigate. Peering inside the running vehicle, they observed a baby bundled up and asleep on the back seat. The employee called police. The tag number was ran by the responding officer and the vehicle’s owner was identified. It was registered to a Rachel Kenney, 23. She was the assistant girls basketball coach and inside participating in a student versus faculty basketball game.
Rachel was paged and came outside to meet officers…and this is where the story gets a little frustrating. Rachel does not feel that she had done anything wrong. She told police that she had to participate in this game, and her 9-month-old son was sick. She decided to leave the baby in the backseat, with the doors unlocked, the vehicle running as well as the heat instead of carrying him inside. Police asked why she didn’t leave the baby at home, and she informed them that no one was there to leave the baby with. When the officer remarked that the well-being of her child was more important than a basketball game, she became a bit agitated.
She told the officer “I am Rachel Kenney and nobody would take my baby! People don’t steal cars in Mooresville and besides, there are cameras everywhere!” Police called Kenney’s mother, since she lives with her, and were able to leave the baby in her custody. When Kenney’s mother arrived at the scene, she also was upset at situation. But not with her daughter. She was upset with police for arresting Kenney, stating that she too felt that her daughter had done nothing wrong and that the baby was in no danger.
Now, at first I was going to give Kenney the benefit of the doubt. I was assuming that Mooresville, Ind must be a car lovers dream. A city in which you could walk into a parking lot on any given winter day and see rows of vehicles running with sleeping newborns bundled up in the backseat. Where a man could take his Mercedes and leave it unlocked and running while he went inside the grocery store with no fear of returning to an empty space where his car once sat. Until I checked and saw that while Mooresville doesn’t have big city numbers in regards to car theft, they did have at least 55 stolen cars reported during 2006 and 2007. That also had me wondering if Kenney would have taken out her life savings and left it laying visible on the seat of her vehicle instead of her son.
Regardless of whether or not Kenney and her mother feel her charge and arrest was justified, she was charged with neglect of a dependent, a D felony. She’s scheduled to appear in court later this month. She faces up to three years in prison if convicted.