Melissa Ringhardt (Jail photo)
VIDOR (February 27, 2014) Melissa Ringhardt, 19, of Vidor, who admitted she was high on marijuana when a 5-year-old boy she was babysitting shot himself to death with her handgun, has been sentenced to four years of probation.
Ringhardt was sentenced Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to endangering a child, a state jail felony.
In October 2013, she was watching 5-year-old John Read and a 6-month-old child at the parents' home in Vidor.
Orange County sheriff's investigators said she left the handgun on a living room table before going to take a nap and when she awoke, she found Read dead with a bullet wound in the head.
She was arrested the next day.
The arrest warrant affidavit said Ringhardt was "intoxicated throughout the day" and left a .40-caliber handgun on a coffee table while she went to take a nap.
She told authorities she was carrying the gun because she was afraid of being alone in the home.
There was no phone in the home, so she babysitter carried the child to his grandparents' home, and authorities were called.