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3-year-old found dead; father arrested

DOS PALOS -- A 3-year-old girl was discovered dead Monday afternoon at her home in the 1300 block of Dos Palos Avenue and police are investigating circumstances of her death.

Dos Palos Police Chief Barry Mann said officers responded just after 5 p.m. to a report of an unresponsive toddler and discovered the toddler was dead. Mann said the girl's name is being withheld until her grandparents can be notified.

Mann said the child's father, Jericho Wright, 26, was booked into Merced County Jail on a general neglect charge. The chief said Wright was distraught, wanted to harm himself and was being held in protective custody for his own safety. He remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

There were no obvious signs of trauma on the child and the time of death was not known. An autopsy will be conducted by the Merced County Coroner's Office. The Merced County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit was called to assist with the investigation, Mann said.

Mann said the child's parents did not live together and shared custody on a week-on, week-off basis. A note was found in the residence by police.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209 385-2485 or