(Orange, Texas)

February 26, 2014

Baby-sitter sentenced to probation in child shooting case

Staff reports
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Melissa Ann Ringhardt, the baby-sitter charged with endangering a child following the self-inflcted shootind death of five-year-old John Read in October 2013, has been sentenced to four years probation.

Below is the story from Oct. 22, 2013 of The Orange Leader

John Read, 5, died after sustaining a fatal gun shot wound to the head.

The child was left at home with a baby-sitter at the 1200 block of Robert’s Road in Vidor.

Melissa Ann Ringhardt, the baby-sitter, 19,  was not in the room with the child when she heard a noise in another room, according to a press release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the scene approximately 2:45 p.m. on Monday after the baby-sitter carried Read to his grandparent’s house on Scott Drive, one street over. There was no phone access at the child’s residence.

“The baby-sitter apparently was out of minutes for the cell phone,” Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said.

Ringhardt, was arrested approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday for abandoning or endangering a child.

Ringhardt told investigators she was carrying  a semi-automatic .40 caliber pistol on her person because she was scared to be at home alone according to a press release.

Ringhardt had been living in the home for recent months and was also baby-sitting a 6 month old child that was not harmed in the incident.

Ringhardt, reportedly, left the handgun on a coffee table in the living room and went to the bedroom to take a nap.  When she was awakened from her nap, she noticed she didn't see John around the house.  She began looking until she found him deceased in the living room with the fatal gunshot wound.  

Ringhardt carried both children to the grandparent's house to get help.

She was arrested without incident and transported to the Orange County Jail Facility.