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Mother charged with manslaughter, child abuse

A Chowchilla woman who works at Valley State Prison will face charges of child abuse and manslaughter for the accidental shooting death of her 1-year-old son by her 3-year-old daughter.

Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn announced Thursday his filing of four criminal complaints against Erica Bautista, a 16-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. She will be arraigned 8:30 a.m. March 2 in Department 29 of Madera County Superior Court.

Her 3-year-old daughter accidentally shot 1-year-old David Curiel in the head Jan. 11 using a handgun registered to Bautista. Chowchilla police officers found him that afternoon being cared for by his mother and sister. He died in an ambulance on the way to Valley Children’s Hospital.

At the time, authorities said the gun may have been improperly stored. It was not a correctional officer duty weapon.

Bautista is accused of illegally keeping a loaded firearm around when she should have known a child could gain access to it. The county has filed charges of child abuse and manslaughter for the death of her son and a count of child abuse of her daughter. The charges also include a special allegation that Bautista “willfully harmed and injured her child” David, “resulting in his death.”

If convicted on all counts, Bautista could face more than 10 years in state prison.

The name of the daughter, identified as “Jane Doe” in the complaints, will not be released.

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