Atwater family mourns loss of 2-year-old girl killed in Christmas Eve crash

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Christmas presents for two-year-old Arizona Dean still sit under the tree at the Atwater home. (KFSN)

A North Valley family is mourning the loss of a two-year-old girl who was killed in a Christmas Eve car accident.

The little girl's family says they were traveling to Quincy, Calif. for the holiday when they hit black ice and their car flipped. The Atwater family says two-year-old Arizona was just playing with Legos and a piano this past Friday at an early Christmas family gathering.

That memory is what they are holding on to as they try to accept the fact that she is now gone. Christmas presents still sit under the tree at Araceli Ochoa's home. She had hoped to open them all today, but tragedy struck in her family making doing so impossible.

"No one thinks stuff like this ever happens on Christmas Eve but it does," she said.

Christmas Eve is when she got the call that her cousin Raymond, his wife Kelly and two kids got into a horrible accident. While on the way up to Nevada to visit Kelly's father and sister, they hit a patch of black ice and flipped over.

The impact of the crash caused Ochoa's two-year-old baby cousin, Arizona, to be ejected from the family's SUV.

"So, I called the hospital and I asked for Kelly Dean and Arizona Dean, and they told me that there was no Arizona Dean that was admitted and I just knew," she said. "I hung up the phone."

Arizona died at the scene, leaving her four-year-old brother Rocco and parents behind.

"This is really hard," Ochoa said. "Everyone is happy with their families, and we're just destroyed and in some much pain."

The family is having a hard time trying to figure out how this all happened after seeing them just two days ago.

"They took all the precautions," family member Jesse Ochoa said. "High Sierras are High Sierras, and black ice does not distinguish who is there and who is not there."

The unexpectedness of this tragedy has them leaning on each other for support. They want others during this holiday season to make sure they cherish the time spent with loved ones because they know how quick life can be taken from them.

The family is grateful for Good Samaritans who stopped to help the family. The four-year-old boy in the car was not injured, and both parents have been released from the hospital.

A GoFundMe account was set up by the family for those who would like to help, click here
for information.
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