Grandpa Jailed After Leaving 5-Year-Old Granddaughter Stranded in Desert With Loaded Gun

By Sherley Boursiquot
Sherley Boursiquot
Sherley Boursiquot
May 12, 2016 Updated: May 12, 2016

An Arizona man has been sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years probation for leaving his 5-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded gun.

The incident occurred last year, November 2015 , when Paul Rater, 53, and his granddaughter went for a ride in his new pickup truck. The two got lost in the desert, authorities in Maricopa County, Arizona, said.

Rater told authorities the vehicle got stuck and they had to walk to find help, the Washington Post reported.

Rater eventually left his granddaughter behind under a tree with a .45-caliber handgun. In a court last year, he told authorities the girl couldn’t walk anymore for she was “pissing and moaning cause she got tired,” he said. 

The grandfather claimed he was hungry and dehydrated.

Before he left, he told his granddaughter to “shoot any bad guys,” Reuters reported.

Shortly after Rater’s departure, a helicopter was able to locate the granddaughter and grandfather—the girl still under the tree, uninjured, and the grandfather at a restaurant, eating and drinking. 

“I don’t know why papa left me,” the child told sheriff’s detectives.

The grandfather claimed he was hungry and dehydrated.

Rater was sentenced on May 9 after pleading guilty to felony child abuse, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said. 

He was initially arrested on two counts of felony child abuse and one count of child endangerment, Reuters reported, but he reached a plea deal with prosecutors in March 2016.

“There still has been no satisfactory explanation for why that happened,” Montgomery said at the news conference. “I can’t tell you why. There’s been no information developed over the course of the prosecution of the case to identify any justification, regardless of how ridiculous it might have been, as to why the defendant engaged in that conduct.”

Below is what Rater had to say about the incident:

Sherley Boursiquot
Sherley Boursiquot