LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Police have arrested a suspect in the death of a toddler found in a container with a cord wrapped around his neck. The 2-year-old boy was found in a Lakewood apartment Monday afternoon.
Police arrested Roman Paul Morales overnight on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Donnie Ro’mello Romero.
Morales, 21, is described as an acquaintance of the toddler’s mother and was staying at her apartment with them. It is unclear his relationship to Donny or his mother but police said Morales isn’t a stranger to the child.
The boy was found unconscious in the apartment shortly after he was reported missing on Monday. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Police said that Morales had been at the apartment but had left on a bicycle prior to officers arriving. He was located in the area a few minutes later.
Police interviewed family members as well as Morales on Monday afternoon but it is unknown what details they obtained before they took him into custody.
“What they were hearing and what they could see as far as physical evidence was not matching up and throughout the evening it became apparent to them that this guy was more than likely responsible for the death of that child,” said Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis.
The apartment where the boy lived was still roped off with crime scene tape with an officer standing guard outside Tuesday morning. Police are expected to return with a search warrant to enter the apartment and the storage unit located below.
Investigators told CBS4 an autopsy would be conducted on the toddler.
Morales is scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. Wednesday for a video advisement. He remained in custody at the Jefferson County Jail.
Donnie’s family plans to gather at the apartment complex for a vigil at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.