MONTPELIER — A juvenile is being charged with felony involuntary manslaughter in connection to the shooting death of a 10-year-old Blackfoot girl near Montpelier on June 9, the Bear Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Bear Lake County Sheriff Bart Heslington said his office has concluded its investigation into the death of Ariel May Gerstlauer of Blackfoot and the Bear Lake County Prosecutor’s Office has charged a boy with felony involuntary manslaughter for causing her death.
The name and age of the boy and where he is from will not be released, Heslington said, adding that the boy is under age 17 and will not be charged as an adult.
The fatal shooting occurred inside a camper trailer parked just off U.S. Highway 30 near Montpelier, Heslington said. At the time of her death Gerstlauer was visiting family members at an area where a number of camper trailers were located for people who were working on a nearby construction project, the sheriff said.
Authorities have previously said that Gerstlauer suffered a single gunshot wound to the head while she was at that location. She died at the scene.
Heslington previously said his deputies confiscated a .22-caliber rifle at the scene of the shooting.
The sheriff told the Journal on Wednesday that no additional firearms were confiscated at the scene but he would not confirm that Gerstlauer was shot with the .22-caliber rifle his deputies confiscated.
The boy who reportedly shot Gerstlauer is not in police custody and the Bear Lake County Sheriff’s Office does not anticipate it will issue a warrant for his arrest, Heslington said.
But the boy will be required to appear in juvenile court regarding the involuntary manslaughter charge against him and he could be sentenced to a juvenile detention facility if convicted.
Heslington did say that authorities are not alleging that the boy intentionally shot Gerstlauer. But the sheriff would not provide further details on the shooting.
Gerstlauer was in the third grade at Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center in Blackfoot at the time of her death.