Parents of baby left on car top in Phoenix released from jail

PHOENIX - Police have identified the father of a 5-week-old baby who was found in a car seat in the middle of a Phoenix intersection over the weekend.

Manuel Monroy Pena, 19, was arrested for aggravated DUI, but a judge later released him to pretrial services.

The baby's mother, 19-year-old Catalina Clouser, was initially arrested for putting the baby on the roof of her car and then driving off.

Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said officers responded to a call of a baby strapped into a car seat lying in the middle of the road at 45th Avenue and Cholla Street around 1 a.m Saturday.

The infant was taken to a local hospital to be checked over and is OK, Holmes said.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's office said Clouser was released from jail early Sunday morning and will be on electronic monitoring.

As police investigated at the scene, two witnesses, identified as friends of the suspect and her boyfriend, walked up and began to talk with officers.

The friends told officers the baby belonged to Clouser.

Holmes said while officers were talking to the friends, Clouser drove back to the scene.

Holmes said the friends, Clouser and Pena had been smoking marijuana in a nearby park earlier.

Clouser and Pena then reportedly took the baby with them to buy beer around 11 p.m. and the boyfriend was stopped by police for aggravated DUI after he was suspected of and processed for being impaired while driving with the baby in the vehicle.

Holmes said Clouser was upset and drove back to the home of the friends where they admittedly smoked one or two more bowls of marijuana.

The friends told police that Clouser left their home around midnight with the baby, who had been asleep in the car seat.

Holmes said Clouser had apparently put the baby on the roof of her car and got inside, forgetting the baby, and drove off.

When she got home, she realized what she'd done and called her friends to check the route she drove because she feared the baby had fallen from the car, Holmes said.

The baby is now in the care of Child Protective Services.

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