Officers now say they have strong reason to believe the girl's father, Jericho Wright, killed her because he was upset with her behavior. They will be asking the Merced County District Attorney to file murder charges.
Police say Wright initially called 911 Monday night and told investigators he found his three-year-old girl dead when he came home from work delivering newspapers. He told them he had left her home alone.
Dos Palos Chief Barry Mann said, "The father does have a job that calls him out early morning hours and he normally returns prior to noon. and it was at that time we believe the father may have found the child deceased."
Officers arrested Wright for neglect saying her death was suspicious. They placed him under observation at the Merced County Jail because he was so distraught.
The child had no known medical conditions. The Merced County Coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine how she died.
Police don't believe the toddler swallowed anything poisonous. Investigators are trying to reconstruct what might have happened. The investigation is ongoing.