A strange story of a grandfather by the name of Paul Rater, who left his 5-year-old granddaughter in the desert with a loaded gun, was brought to a close this past week when the Arizona man was sentenced to jail time for felony child abuse.
The man made headlines across the United States back in November after his granddaughter was reported as missing, but was later found in the desert armed with a handgun that was fully loaded. Rater was found, following the incident, eating and drinking at a nearby restaurant.
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This past Monday, Rater is reported to have plead guilty to child abuse and sentenced to 6 months in prison. This information was shared via Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
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Inside Edition shares details as to the happenings leading to Rater leaving his granddaughter behind in the desert.
“According to Maricopa County authorities, the trouble began when Rater took the girl for a ride in his new truck. They reportedly got lost in the desert and then the truck somehow became stuck. After the two were forced to set out on foot, prosecutors say Rater left the girl behind after she was unable to walk any further. Authorities became aware of the missing girl when her mother reported she was gone.”
The girl’s grandmother shares what the 5-year-old remembered about the abandonment that day.
“According to the incident report, the victim told her grandmother, ‘I don’t know why papa left me. I was calling out for him. He took me by some bushes, gave me a gun and left.”
Authorities ended up tracking the young girl down after using a helicopter to catch sight of her. However, it ended up being a firefighter who was on an ATV, scouring the desert for the girl, who came across her all alone with gun in hand, as the publication shares.
“Cops ended up using a helicopter to track her down, but it was a firefighter on an ATV who ended up hearing her cries. When they finally caught up with her, she was holding the 45-caliber handgun, which was loaded and cocked, authorities said.”
The girl’s grandfather was then quickly tracked down at a local store, when he admitted openly to abandoning his grandchild in the desert. Authorities say he left her and went for a few drinks and a cheeseburger at a local restaurant after doing so. Then, he failed to return to her or get help to collect her.
News.au.com insists that Rater is close to being awarded the title of “World’s Worst Grandpa,” and shares the man’s words and reasoning for not collecting his granddaughter.
“‘Only reason why I got something to eat was I hadn’t eaten in six hours,’ Rater added. ‘I drank two sodas and then I started drinking beer because I don’t like soda, so, I was dehydrated.'”
The now-convicted Rater also claimed that he called his wife just after ordering his cheeseburger, to let her know the turn of events. Witnesses share a different story about Rater’s behavior at the restaurant.
” [A]ccording to the police, Rater showed up at the South Buckeye Equestrian Center and never mentioned his granddaughter. He ordered a cheeseburger and drank four alcoholic drinks before calling his wife, it is claimed.”
When Sheriff Joe Arpaio investigated the scene back in November, he relayed that “[The girl] was given the gun and told to shoot any bad guys.” The girl was then returned to her mother and the Department of Child Safety was then notified to investigate further.
Upon his arrest, Paul Rater was “charged with two counts of child abuse and one count of child endangerment, and given a $25,000 bond.” In addition to jail time, Rater has been sentenced to 10 years probation.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]