DISCLAIMER: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

SLIDELL, La. (WGNO) — A baby less than three weeks old is recovering on the North Shore after police say the child was left in a hot car while the mother was publicly intoxicated inside an area Walmart.

The Slidell Police Department reports that 37-year-old Ashley Kennedy of Minden was taken into custody and her 16-day-old infant child was rushed to an area hospital.

SPD says the incident all started around 10 a.m. Thursday when officers received a call about Kennedy, who was in the store’s parking lot with her baby. Kennedy was reported to have been ‘visibly impaired’ when police were called.

When police arrived, they couldn’t find Kennedy or the child but were instead told by witnesses that the two had left in a Honda Odyssey minivan. However, this wouldn’t be the last they saw of the two on Thursday when only an hour later, a Walmart employee saw Kennedy shopping inside but with her child nowhere in sight.

Rushing back to the store, police say they “feared the worst” when they found that, as the employee said, Kennedy was in the store without her baby. Detectives searched the parking lot and found the lethargic child inside the minivan covered with a blanket and the air conditioner blowing hot air.

Slidell Police say the baby was rushed to an area hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, but when police arrested the child’s mother, it was revealed Kennedy had been involved in a hit-and-run crash earlier in the day. Details on the crash, including where it happened and if anyone was injured, were unclear.

Kennedy was booked into the Slidell City Jail and awaits a transfer to the St. Tammany Parish Jail. She was booked on charges that include:

  • Cruelty to Juveniles
  • Third Offense DWI with Child Endangerment
  • Hit and Run
  • Improper Child Restraint

Police add the child has since been placed in the custody of the Department of Children & Family Services.