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Couple arrested in fatal shooting of daughter
Parents of a Ceres toddler who was fatally shot - they say while she got her hands on a loaded gun - have been arrested.

Christina Castrillo, 24, and Felix Arellano, 26, were taken into custody hours after Cruzita Arellano died from a single shot to her chest Wednesday morning. The mother was charged with child neglect. Arellano was arrested on the suspicion of manslaughter.

Police delivered a warrant to search the house and property and found the couple to be in possession of methamphetamine, guns and a stolen vehicle.

The couple said the girl found the gun and shot herself but police are investigating the validity of their claims.

Ceres emergency dispatchers were called at 7:42 a.m. to the residence at 3418 Ninth Street. They tried to resuscitate the child before loading her into an ambulance and whisk her away to an awaiting helicopter at Roeding Heights Park but she was pronounced dead at a Modesto hospital a short time later.

In the moments after the death, both Castrillo and Arellano were weeping at opposite ends of the house as police kept them from the house. Castrillo seemed combative at times with detectives. A warrant was obtained which allowed them to go into the house to seize evidence.

Police Chief Art de Werk said that Arellano was a convicted felon in possession of the firearm, which is a crime. He will also face drug charges.

Mike Borges, commander of the Police Division of the Ceres Department of Public Safety, said there is a criminal penal code section for nor maintaining a firearm where a child is injured.

Police also called in forensics teams from the state Department of Justice. Borges said that the state has gunshot residue kits that are more sophisticated than the ones used locally.

De Werk called the event an unnecessary tragedy.

"It's always essential to not leave a loaded firearm in any accessible place," said deWerk. "And the trigger locks are unexpensive devices. We actually recommend that the trigger lock be installed on all firearms but they also be put in a locked safe."

The couple's other child was home at the time of the shooting. She was placed into the custody of a grandmother.