The child's mother found her left at home alone; police tested the girl's alcohol level at 0.042.
A Bloomington woman who wanted to celebrate her 47th birthday apparently got the party started by giving her 9-year-old granddaughter two glasses of gin.
Police surmise that Joanne DeLoach hoped the girl would pass out so she could leave for the night instead of continuing to babysit the child. The girl's mother was working a 12-hour shift on Aug. 31 and wasn't home at the time, said Jim Ryan, Bloomington Police Cmdr. Jim Ryan.
"A lot could have happened with a kid left alone," Ryan said. "A lot could have gone wrong. She could have choked on her vomit. ... This is a horrendous case of child endangerment."
DeLoach told police the girl accidentally drank some gin.
But the girl gave a different account to officers. She said she was watching cartoons and other TV shows that afternoon when her grandmother poured her a drink from a bottle that said "gin" on it and told her to drink it.
The girl told her grandmother that it didn't taste very good, Ryan said.
To remedy that, the girl said her grandmother added water to the drink. DeLoach apparently made a second drink for the girl and told her to drink that.
The girl remembers vomitting, hitting her head and blacking out, Ryan said. DeLoach told police that the girl passed out about 1 p.m. and she put a cold rag on her head.
When the girl's mom returned home about 7:30 p.m., the girl was home alone on the couch, Ryan said.
Police arrived at the apartment about 10 p.m. after receiving an anonymous call that a child was given alcohol. When police arrived, they found the bottle of gin and the girl on the couch, complaining she was sick to her stomach and had a headache. A portable breath test showed the girl had an alcohol level of 0.042 percent, about half the legal limit for driving -- more than eight hours after drinking the gin.
The grandmother, who wasn't home when police arrived, was arrested the next day. She was charged Thursday with the endangerment of a child and is being held in Hennepin County jail, pending a court appearance today.
Ryan said the girl's mother has cooperated with police and the child remains in her care. Bloomington police and Hennepin County child protection workers are still investigating.
Mary Lynn Smith 612-673-4788
Mary Lynn Smith firstname.lastname@example.org