North Valley Toddler Murder Investigation

February 26, 2008 7:10:34 PM PST
Merced County Authorities say the toddler died hours after her father attacked her in their Dos Palos home.Now, 26-year old Jerico Wright has been arrested for his daughter's death.

Sheriff Mark Pazin says Wright waited about 12 hours after his daughter's death to call 911.

Now Wright is on suicide watch in a cell here at the Merced County Jail.

Flowers and candles sit outside the Dos Palos home where officers found three year old Liadan Wright's body Monday evening.

Veronica Ahumada, Neighbor: "It's pretty hard. I can imagine how the mom's feeling right now because my daughter is about the age of that baby, so I can imagine how she feels."

Authorities say Jerico Wright shared custody of Liadan with his ex-wife and was watching the toddler at his home Sunday afternoon when she wet her pants. Sheriff Mark Pazin says that's when Wright decided to discipline the little girl.

Mark Pazin: "She was according to detectives interview was thrown in the shower during which time she suffered a hit to the head."

Pazin says Wright later told officers Liadan seemed fine when he left to deliver newspapers early Monday morning. But when he returned home his daughter was dead.

Mark Pazin: "Kind of is in some type of dilemma and he goes out, finishes his paper route and during that time is quoted as saying he's "collecting his thoughts."

Pazin says when Wright returned home again, he drank alcohol, took pills, and passed out before finally calling 911 around 5:30pm. Officers arrived at the house and arrested Wright on neglect charges for leaving his daughter home alone. Those charges were later upgraded to murder.

Mark Pazin: "What makes it even more nauseous for me is that he stayed there in the same house with his dead little girl."

Wright is on a no-bail hold here at the jail this evening.

We're told the girl's mother lives in the Los Banos area and was planning to pick up her daughter this Friday.

The coroner's office will be performing an autopsy Wednesday.


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