Arizona Man Leaves Granddaughter Alone in Desert With Loaded Gun: Police

An Arizona man left his 5-year-old granddaughter alone in a desert outside Phoenix with a loaded and cocked gun — so he could have "a few drinks and a cheeseburger," Maricopa County authorities said Monday.

Paul Rater was charged with child abuse and child endangerment after allegedly leaving his granddaughter alone with a loaded gun. Maricopa County Sheriff

Paul Rater, 62, was charged with two counts of child abuse and one count of child endangerment after the girl's mother reported her daughter missing, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said in a release.

Authorities had been searching for the girl by helicopter when her relatives told the sheriff's office she had been found "all alone, in the desert" with a loaded, cocked .45-caliber handgun, the release said.

Relatives then helped deputies find Rater, who was at a store and admitted to leaving his granddaughter alone, police said.

The girl was returned to her mother and Rater was booked into Maricopa County Jail. It was unclear if he had a lawyer.