Drunk mom arrested after claiming car stolen with 4-week-old baby locked inside, police say

Posted at 7:03 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 19:07:12-05

WEST LINN, OR. -- A woman claimed someone stole her car with her four-week-old baby and dog still inside, triggering an Amber Alert.

It turns out 31-year-old Terra Brandenburg was drunk, crashed her car, and forgot where she left it, police said.

Police said they issued the Amber Alert after Brandenburg claimed someone stole the car from a West Linn 76 gas station parking lot. Police said it didn’t take long to unravel what really happened.

Investigators said that the baby and the dog were found safely locked in the backseat unharmed. They said they eventually learned Brandenburg crashed her car while driving across the Arch Bridge, badly damaging her car. They said she then pulled into an apartment complex and allegedly left her 4-week-old son and 3-year-old Doberman Pincher in the backseat.

Terra Brandenburg

Terra Brandenburg

Police said she then walked to the gas station down the road and seemingly forgot about what happened.

Kasey Stone, an employee at the 76 gas station, said she watched Brandenburg walk into the gas station to buy a box of wine. "Nothing seemed out of the ordinary," Stone said.

“She didn’t (seem drunk) honestly, or I wouldn’t have sold her the alcohol. She seemed pretty normal.” said Stone.

As soon as Brandenburg left the store, Stone said she began screaming.

“She walked outside, started freaking out saying her car was stolen,” Stone said. "I tried to tell her to call the cops and she just decided to call her boyfriend or whoever instead. She said she had a four-week-old baby in there, and so I was trying to tell her to call the cops and she finally did.”

Police said when they got there they began questioning the mother, who at one point ran away from them. While all of this was unfolding, Stone said she also noticed that wine Brandenburg bought was now empty.

“She drank that in the bathroom while the cops were here, before they found the baby, before they found the car,” said Stone.

Police said when they caught up to Brandenburg she seemed visibly drunk, and they quickly realized she was lying.

When police found the car, the baby boy and little dog were still in the backseat and seemed to be OK. Police said they believe the two were only left alone for a matter of minutes.

Brandenburg was arrested. Police said her blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit.

Brandenburg was charged with DUI, initiating a false police report, reckless endangering, criminal mistreatment I and II, disorderly conduct, child neglect II and reckless driving.

Her bail is set at $63,500.