LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Lakewood hope video cameras at an apartment complex will help them get a better picture of how a toddler was killed Monday.

Two-year-old Donnie Ro’mello Romero was found dead in a closed container with a cord wrapped around his neck in the apartment where the boy lived. Roman Paul Isaiah Morales, 21, has been arrested in connection with the boy’s death. He’s facing charges of first-degree murder and is due to appear in court on Wednesday.

Roman Paul Morales (credit: Lakewood Police)

Roman Paul Morales (credit: Lakewood Police)

Police haven’t indicated a motive for the child’s death.

Morales lived in the same apartment where Romero was found. Witnesses said Morales hid downstairs in a maintenance room before fleeing.

“We did find him and brought him back to the station for questioning, and overnight detectives decided an arrest was necessary,” Steve Davis with Lakewood Police said.

The complex is filled with video cameras that investigators hoped would yield a better picture of just what happened. Neighbors were understandably still in shock over the boy’s death.

Donnie Ro'mello Romero (credit: CBS)

Donnie Ro’mello Romero (credit: CBS)

“He used to play with my son,” neighbor Kim Hallada said.

Romero was described as a promising musician by family members. The community prepared to hold a vigil Tuesday night for the boy they barely got to know.

“We have a church that meets here every week. We’ve been part of this community, our church has, for a number of years,” Luann Turner said. “We feel like this is our community and we are watching people grieve and the trauma that they are suffering.”

Donnie Ro'mello Romero with his father, who shares the same name, Donnie Ro'mello Romero (credit: CBS)

Donnie Ro’mello Romero with his father, who shares the same name, Donnie Ro’mello Romero (credit: CBS)

Morales was recently in jail awaiting trial on theft charges. What he faces now are far more serious.

“They need to investigate all the seven adults that were in that home and not watching that 2-year-old,” said Madeline Huerena, Romero’s aunt.


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