, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

October 23, 2013

Bond set at $250,000 for Vidor baby-sitter in child death

VIDOR — Bond is set at $250,000 for a Vidor baby-sitter in the accidental shooting death of a 5-year-old child.

Melissa Ringhardt, 19, was arraigned by Judge David Peck and the bond set on Wednesday, according to a press release from Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The child, identified as John Read, accidentally shot himself in the head after his baby-sitter allegedly left a .40 caliber gun within reach before taking a nap on Monday. She is charged with abandoning or endangering a child, which is a state jail felony.

The shooting occurred at the child’s home at about 2:45 p.m. Oct. 21 in the 1200 block of Roberts Road in Vidor.

Ringhardt had been living in the home for the past few months. On Monday, Ringhardt was left in the home with the 5-year-old and another child, age six months. She reportedly told investigators that she was carrying a .40 caliber handgun on her person in the home that day because she was scared of being at the home alone.

She reportedly left the handgun on a coffee table in the living room and went to the bedroom to take a nap. When she awakened from her nap, she noticed that she didn’t see John Read, the 5-year-old, around the house. She began looking until she found him deceased in the living room with a fatal gunshot wound. The 6-month-old was not harmed. She then carried both children to the grandparent’s home on the next block to get help.

The preliminary investigation appears to be that the shooting was accidental.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 Judge Price was summoned to the scene. An autopsy was ordered and the child was transported to the Jefferson County Morgue.

Investigators were able to obtain an arrest warrant for Ringhardt. She was located about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 at an address in the 1600 block of Willowbend in the Vidor area. She was arrested without incident.


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