Santa Barbara police arrest Mammoth mother suspected of leaving 5-year-old unattended with ghost guns
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A mother was arrested for child endangerment after a babysitter arrived at the residence to find a five-year-old child alone in the house with multiple guns in easily accessible locations, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.
A babysitter hired from an online website called the police around 7 p.m. on Saturday after arriving at a vacation rental residence on the 800 block of Highland Drive to babysit and finding the five-year-old left home unattended, according to Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale.
"The mother was nowhere to be found," Ragsdale said, adding that the babysitter found a "ghost gun" handgun and ammunition on the kitchen counter and another "ghost gun" in the bedroom – both easily accessible to the child.
Ghost guns are unregulated, without visible serial numbers that people tend to build or buy without a background check.
The babysitter immediately contacted authorities about the "unusual incident," Ragsdale said.
"The babysitter expected to meet the child’s guardian and was extremely surprised to find the child unattended upon arrival," he added.
The child had been left alone for more than 24 hours without food, officers learned.
Detectives were notified and assisted by obtaining an authorized warrant from a judge, Ragsdale said. They were able to gain information about the mother's location through phone numbers, he added.
Officers said they found the mother, a 46-year-old Mammoth Lakes resident, intoxicated at a residence on the 1100 block of Cliff Drive around 8:30 p.m., and she was placed under arrest.
The woman was the only family member available in town, so Child Protective Services responded to care for the five-year-old, Ragsdale said.
She was arrested on multiple felony charges, including child endangerment, possession of undetectable “ghost guns,” possession of a firearm with a prior misdemeanor conviction, unlawful possession of ammunition, child neglect, and criminal storage of a firearm.
She was booked at the Santa Barbara County Jail with bail set at $100,000, but she was cited and released over the weekend.
Neighbors noticed her new SUV with Mammoth Lakes plates parked on Highland Drive on Monday night.
Her first court date is not yet listed on the docket.