SONORA, Calif. (KTXL) — Child abuse charges have been filed against two people after a 23-month-old died in 2019 from a blunt injury.
The Sonora Police Department says 23-year-old Nicole Sparks and 26-year-old Joseph Maloney both face charges for their roles in the death of Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood. Maloney is accused of causing the injury that led to the boy’s death.
Back in January 2019, the toddler was allegedly in the care of his mother’s then-boyfriend when he was found unresponsive. Sparks-Blackwood was flown to UC Davis Medical Center, where he died just three weeks shy of his second birthday.
Police confirmed Maloney was arrested at his Sonora home Monday. Sparks turned herself in Tuesday morning, officials said.
Maloney has been charged with second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, and child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death. He could face up to 25 years to life in prison. His bail has been set at $1 million.
Sparks has been charged with child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death. She could face up to six years in prison and her bail is $25,000.
Maloney is expected to be arraigned Wednesday, according to police.
Sparks-Blackwood’s loved ones came together earlier this month to call for justice and the passage of Koltyn’s Law, which would require hospitals to immediately alert law enforcement and Child Protective Services when a child shows up to the ER with traumatic injuries.
The boy’s family released a statement after police announced charges had been filed in his death:
We would like to thank everyone that put in countless hours of hard work to make this arrest. Especially the Sonora Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. We would also like to thank all of the reporters that helped keep us going over the past two years. Now we can move forward and concentrate on Koltyn’s Law.Family of Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood