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2-year-old girl shot and killed in Ceres

CERES — A 2-year-old girl died this morning from a gunshot wound to her chest, and police are investigating the parents’ statements that Cruzita Arellano shot herself.

Christina Castrillo, 24, and Felix Arellano, 26, told officers the shooting was accidental, said Sgt. Allen McKay. Police later arrested Castrillo on a child neglect charge and Arellano on suspicion of manslaughter and other charges after interviewing them most of the day.

“We have no reason to disbelieve the parents right now, but we will confirm what happened, like with all incidents,” McKay said.

When they searched the southeast Ceres home, police found guns, drugs and a stolen vehicle, investigators said.

Officers brought Arellano and Castrillo into the police station for questioning and arrested them Wednesday afternoon, McKay said. Arellano faces charges of manslaughter, child neglect likely to produce great bodily injury, possession of stolen property and possession of controlled substances.

Castrillo faces a charge of child neglect likely to produce great bodily injury. She was being held tonight in lieu of $35,000 bail. As of early this evening, Arellano had not been booked.

McKay said both were talking with police but he would not give details about their statements.

Police were called to the home about 7:40 a.m.

When neighbor Mitzie Cook, 37, heard screams coming from the Ninth Street house, she ran across the street to see a man covered in blood.

“I heard someone yelling ‘My baby!’ ‘My baby!’ Then I seen the little girl on the ground. She was naked and had blood all over her. (The dad) had blood on him. He’d carried her outside,” she said.

Emergency medical personnel worked on the child at the scene but could not save her.

The home is in the 3400 block of Ninth Street near Roeding Road in southeast Ceres.

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