GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4)– The man accused of murdering his 2-year-old cousin appeared before a judge on Wednesday two days after the toddler was found unconscious in a Lakewood apartment.

“He was the most full of life child you would have ever wanted to see,” said Donnie Ro’mello Romero, Jr.’s aunt, Jeanette Galindo. “He was the light of our lives.”

She spoke with CBS4 outside the Jefferson County courtroom where Roman Paul Isaiah Morales, 21, appeared in court via closed circuit video from jail.

Roman Paul Morales (credit: Lakewood Police)

Roman Paul Morales (credit: Lakewood Police)

Although family members have told CBS4 that Morales is the toddler’s cousin, police only referred to him as an acquaintance.

Galindo refused to acknowledge his relationship saying, “Roman is not family to me.”

Romero was found in a closed container with a cord wrapped around his neck in an apartment in the 2500 block of S. Sheridan Boulevard on Monday. He was one week away from his third birthday.

Donnie Ro'mello Romero (credit: CBS)

Donnie Ro’mello Romero (credit: CBS)

In court on Wednesday there was an outburst once the judge finished speaking. A woman stood up and said, “Keep your head up, Roman!”

In response a family member of the child turned and yelled, “Shut up!”

Roman remains in custody without bond on a first-degree murder charge. He is scheduled to appear in court next week for a formal filing of charges.

“We want justice for the baby and we want peace for our family. We know it is going to be a while before we ban get that and we will speak when we have something to say but right now we just want justice for our baby and we ask that everybody just pray for him please and pray for our family,” said Galindo.

Court documents remained sealed in this case.

Additional Resources

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family pay for Donnie Ro’mello Romero’s funeral costs.

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