Samantha Grace Vaughan, 26, is the woman making headlines for the joyous smile she had on her face when she posed for the booking photo following her arrest.
The mugshot is a stark contrast to what happened leading up to it. Vaughan was accused of leaving her baby girl in the parking lot of a nightclub in Copperas Cove, Texas. The city is located in central Texas about an hour north of Austin.
The Copperas Cove Police explained in an email to Heavy that the baby was turned over to her father following Vaughan’s arrest.
Vaughan admitted to the officers that she had taken shots of alcohol inside the nightclub. During the arrest, officers said Vaughan also used racial slurs and threats against them. The language referenced further in this article may be offensive.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Police Responded to the Nightclub After Getting a Tip About a Baby Left Alone in a Car
Officers with the Copperas Cove Police department went to the TrackSide Night Club on July 28, 2019, around 1:45 in the morning. They had received a tip that a baby had been left alone in a car in the club’s parking lot.
According to the arrest affidavit, the officers saw the baby girl, identified as Riley Jo Vaughan, sleeping in a safety seat in the backseat of a vehicle that had been left running. The car was described as a 2009 silver Buick Limited with license plate MGP4771.
One of the officers opened the door to check on the baby. The second officer went inside the nightclub to look for the child’s mother.
2. Samantha Vaughan Initially Said She Went Inside the Club to Use the Bathroom, Then Admitted to Taking Two Shots
Samantha Grace Vaughan came outside with the officer roughly six minutes after the police said they first arrived on the scene. She told them that she had driven to the club to pick up her husband, and had gone inside to use the restroom.
The officers wrote in the affidavit that they could smell alcohol on Vaughan’s breath. She admitted to taking two shots while she sat and waited for her husband.
3. Police: Vaughan Yelled Racial Slurs at the Officers & Made Threats During the Ride in the Cruiser
Samantha Grace Vaughan escalated the situation by yelling a racial slur at the officers. She screamed, “You will not take my child and place her with a f*cking n*****,” according to the affidavit.
The officers then detained Vaughan and explained that she was under arrest. They decided to put double-locked handcuffs around Vaughan’s wrists due to her “continued outbursts.”
It does not appear that Vaughan’s husband ever came outside during this exchange. The affidavit does not mention him. In a separate email to Heavy, Lt. Jeremy Alber of the Copperas Cove Police explained that baby Riley was turned over to her father on the scene, shortly after Vaughan was arrested.
The affidavit goes on to include that Vaughan kept talking as they drove to the police department. The officer wrote that Vaughan’s verbal threats included the following language: “I hope someone slits your god damn jugular and a n*gger f*cks your children in the ass. Crash this car and kill us both. I hope your children f*cking die. I hope someone f*cks your children in the ass and makes them choke on n*gger d*cks.”
4. Police: Vaughan Physically Resisted Arrest & Hit Her Head in the Process
Samantha Grace Vaughan physically resisted arrest, the officers said. They explained in the affidavit that Vaughan tried to get away by dropping to the ground and was “thrashing” her body around.
The officers added that Vaughan “continued to yell and throw herself about when she was placed into the back of my patrol unit and smashed her forehead into the steel bar twice causing a small laceration to her head.” You can see the mark in her mugshot.
Police said that Vaughan submitted to a breathalyzer test once they had arrived at the police department. Her blood-alcohol level measured 0.148, which is nearly twice the legal limit.
5. Samantha Grace Vaughan Faces Charges Including Endangering a Child
Samantha Grace Vaughan was arrested just after 2 a.m. on July 28, according to the Copperas Cove Police Department’s daily bulletin, which is available on its website.
The charges include:
- Abandoning/Endangering a Child with Intent to Return
- Making a Terrorist Threat Against a Public Servant
- Resisting Arrest
Vaughan was formally arraigned on the charges later that same day. Bond was set at $16,000.
Lt. Jeremy Alber explained in the email to Heavy (on July 31) that Vaughan was transported to the county jail run by the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Alber added, “I checked the on-line jail roster for the Coryell County Jail and her name did not appear today. I cannot be certain if she has been released from custody as they often house prisoners in partnering facilities.”
Vaughan’s name also does not come up in a national database of currently detained inmates.