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Suspect accused of killing 2-year-old cousin held without bond

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- The man accused of strangling his 2-year-old cousin with a cord remains behind bars without bond.

Roman Morales, 21, had his first court appearance in Jefferson County Court on Wednesday.

Because the judge continues to keep the arrest affidavit sealed, it's difficult to get details of what happened leading to the child's death.

Morales showed no emotion during his advisement, but for the boy's family, it was a different story.

A colorful memorial stands outside the apartment where family members said they lost the "light of their life," 2-year-old Donny Ro'mello Romero.

"I'm angry, I'm bitter, but most of all, I'm hurt and I'm confused to have such a ... what a life to take," said Donny Romero Sr., the boy's father.

The little boy would have turned 3 years old next week. But police say Morales killed the toddler inside an apartment Monday. As the family searched for the boy outside, police say Morales fled the scene.

Sources say when Lakewood police interviewed Morales, he showed no emotion when he was told about Donny's death.

If Morales is found guilty, the question everyone wants to know is why? One friend, who asked not to be identified, said Morales changed.

“He definitely turned into somebody different,” the friend said. “He was always trying to warn me to get off the grid because the government was going to kill all the citizens.”

The person said the behavior intensified two weeks ago when the mother of Morales' child cut off visitation.

“I have no doubt something was mentally wrong with him,” the person said.

When Donny went missing, the person said Morales fled.

“Roman was pretending to search, but when they did find the baby, Roman was already gone," the person said.

Wednesday, Donny's mother, Tiffany Segura, sobbed and family members shielded her from the media as she attended Morales' first court appearance. Prosecutors are asking Morales continue to be held without bond, pending charges of first-degree murder.

The boy's death has bitterly divided some in the family, who first said they would talk to the media but then declined after an emotional outburst in court. They were joined by members of the public at a candlelight vigil Tuesday night to mourn Donny's loss.

"I'm going to miss his warm soul, and most of all I'm going to miss his love," Donny Romero Sr. said.

The formal filing of charges against Morales will take place in Jefferson County Court at 10 a.m. Tuesday. At that time, it's hoped the unreleased details of what happened leading to the little boy's death will be unsealed.

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