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So Paul Rater, 53, left the 5-year-old alone in the desert brush after taking her for a ride in his new pickup, and gave her a loaded gun, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Christopher Hegstrom told CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix.
According to the MCSO incident report, the victim told her grandmother, “I don’t know why papa left me. I was calling out for him. He took me by some bushes, gave me a gun and left me.”
The pair set out for a ride in the desert late Sunday, and four hours later the little girl was reported missing. The family called police, who scrambled a helicopter, but her relatives found her alone with the gun themselves. It was a .45-caliber handgun that had been cocked into a ready-to-fire position.
Rater was quickly tracked down at a local store, and he admitted to abandoning his grandchild in the desert, officials say. He said he went for a few drinks and a cheeseburger after leaving her there.