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Police find intoxicated 3-year-old

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- A 3-year-old girl with a blood alcohol level of 0.12 percent was found passed out at a home where four adults were "heavily drunk," authorities said.

She was unconscious and in critical condition when she was taken to a hospital Monday night, police spokesman Lt. Greg Reinhardt said.

"The child could have easily died," Reinhardt said.

She was doing fine Tuesday and was scheduled to be released to St. Joseph's Home for Children, police said.

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The girl's grandmother, a 53-year-old Minneapolis woman, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment but was not immediately charged. Other arrests were possible, Reinhardt said.

The girl's sister called police and told officers the 3-year-old accidentally got into alcohol in a cabinet, Reinhardt said. Police didn't know what kind of alcohol she drank.

Kirk Hughes of the Minnesota Poison Control System said it would take about 7 ounces of beer or about one ounce of 40-proof liquor for a 28-pound child to reach a 0.12 blood-alcohol level. One ounce would be about two mouthfuls for such a child, he said.

Authorities also found 11 other children, ages 1 to 15, at the house, Reinhardt said. The 3-year-old's mother was not home at the time, he said. She later told officers the grandmother was the baby sitter, according to a police report.

Arthur Searcy, a visitor at the house Monday night, said the grandmother took the blame because of her "mother hen" instincts to protect her grandchildren. She was visiting, not baby-sitting, he said.

"The baby got ahold of something, and that's it," Searcy said. "Accidents do happen."

The adults were drinking in the kitchen and the children were in another room when the girl got drunk, he said, adding he was unaware of her condition until police arrived.

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