VIDEO: Grandpa at bar after girl left in desert

Posted at 6:01 PM, Dec 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-24 01:36:27-05

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has released surveillance video showing Paul Rater, 62, at a bar, after allegedly leaving his granddaughter in the desert in November.

Investigators say the video shows Rater coming into the bar on November 1.

Rater orders a few drinks and minutes later his burger and fries are delivered fresh from the kitchen.

In the video, he even asks to use the phone to make a few calls, not to the police, but to his wife asking for a ride home.

Rater admits he didn’t ask the bartenders for help right away for his 5-year-old granddaughter. 

She was 10 miles away, in the desert, alone, near her grandpa’s stuck truck with his loaded .45 caliber handgun.

"We started walking and a mile into it, she's cryin' and she didn't want to walk. I said, 'Well you stay here, here's my gun, if any bad guys come, shoot 'em,'" said Rater in a recorded interview with investigators.

Rater says he got stuck four wheeling with his granddaughter. 

When she got tired of walking, he says he left her under a bush for five hours.

Deputy: "A 5 year old, lost out in the desert, that’s...pretty much potentially death."

Rater: "I actually know that."

Deputy: “OK.”

Rater: "I didn't mean to get stuck."

Bar employees say Rater was yelling at his wife on the phone, but she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

"I called him back and I'm like, 'What the hell did you leave her in the God damn f******* desert for, with a God damn gun?"

Deputies found Rater at the bar, and hauled him to jail.

He’s scheduled for a court hearing on January 4, 2016.