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No charges against mother of dead toddler

The father of a 2-year-old who might have shot herself in the chest was in Stanislaus County Superior Court this afternoon to be arraigned on a child endangerment and five other serious felonies, but the district attorney’s office declined to press charges against the child’s mother.

Felix Martinez Arellano II, 26, has not pleaded to the charges, as he has not yet hired an attorney.

Christina Castrillo, 24, had been released from custody hours earlier.

“We don’t have a crime, we believe, that we can prove against her,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney John Goold.

A dozen family members attended the hearing to support Arellano, who was in shackles and a green and white striped jumpsuit. They declined to comment, but some grumbled that the situation is a tragedy, not a crime.

The Ceres police were called to the a home in the 3400 block of Ninth St. at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, when Arellano and Castrillo told the authorities that their toddler, Cruzita Arellano, accidentally shot herself in the chest while they were asleep on a livingroom couch.

The police found 2 ounces of methamphetamine in the house and said the couple appeared to be high, though they will not have the results of blood tests for a few weeks. They also found cash, three handguns, stolen items and surveillance equipment.

Arellano is charged with: permitting a child to suffer under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death, being a felon in possession of a firearm, possessing a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, possessing a controlled substance for sale, receiving stolen property and participating in a Norteno street gang.

Commissioner Ann Ameral said Arellano’s arraignment will continue on Oct. 29.

Police are examining the bullet's path, fingerprinting the gun and checking evidence of gun residue to determine how the child was shot.

The 2-month-old , Delilah, was placed with Cynthia Castrillo, but officers with Child Protective Services removed her late Wednesday to check her for exposure to meth and related chemicals, McKay said. Cynthia Castrillo said Arellano's parents are trying to get custody of the baby.

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