Crime

Drunk Surprise Mom Leaves Two Kids in Car While Partying in Tempe; Kids Found Wandering Busy Street at 5 a.m.

There's a new candidate for mother of the year: 25-year-old Vanessa Tsinajinnie.

With an open bottle of Southern Comfort in the car, Tsinajinnie drove her two daughters -- ages 2 and 4 -- from Surprise to Mesa and finally to Tempe on Sunday night so she could "have a good time" at an apartment party. The children apparently weren't invited -- so she left them in the car as she partied into the early hours of the morning.

The kids were found wandering northbound on Priest Road near the apartment complex about 5 a.m. Monday after a passerby saw them and called police.

When Tempe police brought the children back to the apartment complex at 737 South Priest Drive, Tsinajinnie was found drunk and wandering around the parking lot looking for her girls.


According to court documents obtained by New Times, when questioned by police, Tsinajinnie said she got to the party about 2 a.m., which police determined was a lie.

Witnesses at the party told detectives Tsinajinnie had arrived at the party about 10:30 p.m. the night before, which means the kids were alone in the car for over five hours.

When informed that leaving her kids in a car in a parking lot while she got drunk inside an apartment wasn't a great idea because the kids could potentially find their way to a busy road, Tsinajinnie told police, "Yeah, but they were asleep."

The car was unlocked with the windows rolled a third of the way down and the keys were on the passenger seat, so wandering onto a busy street is probably one of the better outcomes to the situation when you consider what could have happened -- for example, they could have been kidnapped by a pervert, or managed to start the car.

Tsinajinnie, who already has a suspended license for a prior DUI conviction, was booked on two counts of child abuse. The children have been placed in the custody of their aunt.

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James King
Contact: James King