Melissa Ringhardt is the teenage babysitter from Vidor, Texas, who is accused of endangering the life of a child. She was allegedly taking a nap while the child she was babysitting, 5-year-old John Read, took her gun and shot himself dead, reports KFDM Beaumont.
Here’s what you need to know about Ringhardt and this horrific incident:
1. Ringhardt Left Her Gun on a Coffee Table in the Living Room
When Ringhardt was supposed to be babysitting John Read, it’s reported she took a nap in a bedroom of his family home, where she also lives. She left the boy alone, with her .40-caliber handgun lying on the coffee table. She woke up to find John Read dead of a gunshot wound. Ringhardt was also responsible for a six-month-old girl at the time of the accident.
2. She Ran to the Boy’s Grandparents’ Home
Because Read’s home doesn’t have a phone, Ringhardt took Read and the six-month-old to the boy’s grandparents’ home, where she called 911. When EMTs responded to the scene, John Read was pronounced dead.
3. Ringhardt Had the Gun Because She Was ‘Scared’
According to detectives, Ringhardt was frightened of being home alone. Orange County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson told reporters:
People have the right to bear arms, and with that comes great responsibility. If someone, somehow, puts a firearm in a place where a child is able to get that weapon, you’ve committed an offense.
4. Ringhardt is Charged With Endangering a Child
She’s being held in Orange County Jail on charges of endangering or abandoning a child. On October 23, her bail was set at $250,000. If convicted on the charge she could face six months to two years in prison.
5. Ringhardt is a Native of Arkansas
According to her Facebook page, Ringhardt is originally from Russelville, Arkansas. In May 2012, she lived in Leeds, Alabama, but lists her current home as Orange, Texas. Vidor is located in Orange County, Texas. Her profile also states that she’s unemployed and is a fan of country music, rap music, tattoos and marijuana.