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GARY | A Chesterton woman was charged with neglect of a dependent after police allege she left her 7-month-old child in a car for hours while she was intoxicated inside a strip club.

Witnesses said Amanda E. Paduano, 28, arrived at Polecatz Strip Club "already intoxicated ... and throwing money at the dancers on stage," according to a Lake Superior Court affidavit released Thursday.

A Polecatz manager would later go out that evening and realize a baby was in the backseat of a vehicle. Due to her intoxication, employees had already taken Paduano's keys from her. 

The manager called the police and took the baby out of the vehicle. Other Polecatz employees fed the child and changed its dirty diaper, the affidavit said.

Police said they later learned from Paduano that she had left her 9-year-old child at a home in Chesterton on his own while she was at the club — where witnesses said she arrived about 5 p.m. and police were called about 11 p.m.

When detectives interviewed her later that night and told her she had been to Polecatz, she asked investigators, "Did I strip?"

The investigation began April 28 when Polecatz manager Mario Robles called authorities and told police of the intoxicated woman and a baby he found crying loudly in her car.

He said employees had seen her show up to the business already intoxicated and continued to drink, according to the affidavit. Witnesses told police Paduano passed out about 9 p.m. in a booth and, at that point, employees took her car keys to ensure she wouldn't leave until she sobered up.

One bartender who said he saw Paduano come into the business sold her bottles of champagne and said he saw her go out to her vehicle "several times because she said that she wanted to retrieve some money." He told police he watched her for her safety and to make sure she wasn't doing anything illegal and saw her lean into the car "but could not see what she was doing," the affidavit states. He said he did not know there was a baby in the vehicle.

Later that night, she asked for a deal on champagne while she sat at the VIP table before she passed out, police said.

Medics at the scene examined both the baby and Paduano, finding the child to be uninjured. Paduano, however, had to be shaken to be awakened, "smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages and she had bloodshot eyes and continuously vomited numerous times at the police department," the affidavit said.

Interviewed at the police department, Paduano said she didn't remember anything from that night. She said she had a routine day on April 28, having one beer at lunch. She said she had her son start his homework after he returned home from school and then went, with her baby, to a Redbox in Chesterton to return a movie.

"She only planned to be gone a few minutes when she returned the movie. She said that she remembers returning the movie and could not remember anything after that," the affidavit states.

She admitted to having a Zoloft at 9 a.m. that morning, but denied any drinking beyond the beer during lunch.

Her children were taken into custody by Child Protective Services, authorities said.