Published May 03, 2016
An Arizona man left his 5-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded handgun while he went to get drinks and a cheeseburger, investigators said Monday.
Maricopa County authorities say 53-year-old Paul Armand Rater is being held on suspicion of two counts of child abuse and one count of child endangerment.
Rater took his granddaughter for a ride in the desert in his new pickup truck Sunday. He told authorities the vehicle got stuck and they had to walk for help because he left his cellphone at home.
Rater says he left the girl under a tree with a gun when she couldn't walk anymore.
A helicopter later located the uninjured girl in rough terrain. She was still holding the .45 pistol, Fox 10 reports.
Rater was found eating and drinking at a restaurant.
Bond was set at $25,000 at Rater's initial court appearance Monday. He doesn't have a lawyer yet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.