A lone firefighter on an ATV is all that likely saved a 5-year-old girl from near-certain death in the unforgiving Arizona heat.
Sheâ€™d been left their by her grandpa while he â€˜went for helpâ€™. He handed her a loaded .45 caliber pistol â€˜to shoot bad guysâ€™ and walked over ten miles. Only the type of help he sought and found did nothing whatsoever to aid the little girl.
62-year-old Paul Rater had gone straight to a bar.
Their family had reported the two missing in the desert near Rainbow Valley four hours after theyâ€™d headed out to go riding in the dunes.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the man was found in a bar after having had a few drinks and a cheeseburger. When confronted, he said that heâ€™d walked hours to get help after he claims his truck broke down.
The problem? He never asked a soul for help and never even mentioned his young granddaughter.
If it hadnâ€™t been for the family calling for help â€“ and knowing where theyâ€™d gone to ride â€“ that firefighter would have never heard the girlâ€™s cries for help.
â€œI don’t know why papa left me, I was calling for him,â€ Arpaio said, quoting the little girl.
Mr. Rater has been booked into the 4th Avenue Jail on two counts of child abuse and one count of child endangerment.
The girl was returned to her mother and the Department of Child Safety was notified.