Crime

Valerie Topete Put Beer in Her Kid's Sippy Cup, Cops Say; 2-Year-Old Fell From Chair

A Phoenix woman was arrested on Tuesday after witnesses at Peter Piper Pizza saw her 2-year-old kid fall out of his chair -- possibly because he was drunk.

Valerie Topete, 32, was at the pizza parlor in Chandler in the evening when -- a witness told police -- she poured beer from a pitcher into the tot's sippy cup, set the cup in front of him and walked away. The kid fell off the chair not long after, leading the witness to conclude that the child may have been intoxicated. Topete 'fessed up to spiking her kids apple juice when cops arrived at the scene.

In a child-rearing method that reminds us Kristopher Harvey's "give-'em-shots-'til-they-puke" program from last month, Topete claimed that giving the kid beer was "reverse psychology" to make him stop grabbing for the pitcher. Of course, such a plan wouldn't work if the kid actually liked the stuff, but we imagine Topete didn't think it out that far.

Topete also admitted that she'd seen the kid drink from the sippy cup. A cop saw that the cup contained about four ounces of liquid, a frothy head and a strong smell of alcohol.

Mother-and-son were taken to a hospital, where the kid was evaluated for possible alcohol ingestion and potential injuries from the fall. The booking sheet doesn't list the kid's BAC. Topete was arrested at the hospital and booked into jail. Police are seeking one count of child abuse.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.