Judith Fleissig, the New York mother who got the Nissan Rogue after Tannehill returned it, said she was "freaked out" when her daughter found a rifle in an unzipped bag. Flessing called the car rental company and was instructed to turn the weapon over to the nearest police station.
After conducting a review, authorities determined the rifle was legally owned and accidentally left behind by Lauren Tannehill.
"Though dangerous if it would have landed in the wrong hands, it’s not criminal,” Broward sheriff's spokeswoman Keyla Concepción said. “They simply forgot it.”
Tannehill, 26, is a model who was featured in an HBO reality sports documentary titled "Hard Knocks." She married the NFL star in January 2012.
A source close to the couple said they reported the missing item to the rental car company as soon as they realized they had left it in the car, but they did not specify what was in the bag. The rifle legally belongs to Ryan Tannehill.
According to the sheriff's report, Lauren Tannehill rented the white Nissan on Jan. 4 and returned it two hours later to the rental company, E-Z Rent-A-Car at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. She then swapped it for a different car.
Fleissig, 58, rented the car hours after Lauren Tannehill returned it. She was in South Florida with her daughter who was interviewing for a pediatric residency program at the University of Miami.
She said her daughter jumped out of the car as soon as she saw it inside the folded back seats of the SUV she rented.
“I took a picture, zipped it back up and went to the police station. They came out and took it,” she explained.
Charlie Graham, vice president of business development for Orlando-based E-Z Rent-A-Car, said cars are cleaned between customers as part of the company's normal procedure.
"I’m not sure how that could get past,” he added.