The babysitter who was watching 5-year-old John Read of Vidor when he accidentally shot himself and died on Oct. 21 has been arrested, according to a news release from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies report Melissa Ringhardt, 19, was arrested for abandoning or endangering a child, a state jail felony, after Ringhardt left Read in another room with a gun while she took a nap. According to the report, Ringhardt had been living with the Read family for a "few months" and was left in charge of the 5-year-old boy and a 6-month-old child while their mother was not home. Ringhardt reportedly told investigators she was carrying a semi-automatic .40-caliber pistol for protection because she was scared to be in the home alone. She left the handgun on the coffee table in the living room of the home and went into a bedroom to sleep, deputies said. When she awoke, she reportedly found the boy deceased with a fatal gunshot wound. The 6-month old child was unharmed. Ringhardt then ran from the residence she was at on Roberts Road in Quiet Village to a nearby house on Scott Street where the children's grandparents lived. There was no phone at the home where the child was killed, deputies reported.
According to OCSO, Ringhardt was arrested in Vidor at approximately 3 p.m. without incident. Bond has not yet been set.