Babysitter charged for leaving handgun near boy, 5

Babysitter charged for leaving handgun near boy, 5

Melissa Ringhardt

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Associated Press

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 11:22 AM

VIDOR, Texas (AP) — Authorities in Southeast Texas are charging a babysitter with abandonment after a child in her care shot himself with a handgun she allegedly left lying around.

Orange County Chief Deputy Sheriff Clint Hodgkinson said Tuesday that 19-year-old Melissa Ringhardt was babysitting a 5-year-old and 6-month-old in a home in Vidor, about 90 miles east of Houston. Authorities say Ringhardt brought a handgun with her because she was scared of being home alone.

Ringhardt left the handgun on a table and went into another room to take a nap. When she awoke, she found the 5-year-old boy lying in the living room with a gunshot wound.

Ringhardt will be charged with abandoning or endangering a child, a felony. She's being held pending bond.

She did not have a listed phone number.

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