Parents of 2-year-old who died in Sterling house fire indicted

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STERLING, Colo. -- The parents of a two-year-old boy who died in a house fire in Sterling two months ago are behind bars.

Sterling Police arrested Julia Welton, 27, and Christopher Welton, 33, at their home Tuesday.

It’s the same day a grand jury returned an indictment against them.

At the home where Levi Welton lost his life, the homeowners cleared out the burned furniture and debris and prepared to start over.

But the legal troubles are just beginning for Levi’s parents.

“This was a very emotional case. It was very challenging and difficult for everyone involved," says Sterling Police Chief Tyson Kerr.

The investigation took more than two months and involved multiple agencies, including the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Sterling Fire, Sterling Police and a grand jury.

Both are now charged with child abuse that negligently caused Levi’s death.

They’re also accused of placing Levi’s 5-year-old brother, Dean, at risk.

Three other counts accuse them of contributing to the delinquency of three minors by encouraging them to smoke marijuana.

“It is three different juveniles, that in this case, are not their children,” says Kerr.

“I lost pretty much my world. I don’t even know where I’m at,” said Christopher Welton, when he spoke to us in January.

At the time they were upset the community had condemned them for somehow causing their boy’s death.

“I want to mourn about my son without all the rumors,” said Julia Welton.

Levi died in his bedroom when a fire broke out and he crawled into a closet to hide.

The cause is still not clear.

But prosecutors say that’s not what’s important in that Levi’s parents should have protected him and they believe they didn’t.

The Weltons both face four felonies and one misdemeanor.

They remain in jail on $100,000 bond each. They’re due in court Thursday afternoon.

Their two other kids have been staying with relatives.


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