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Koltyn Sparks Blackwood

Update: Tot boy did NOT die from flu, he was killed. Police make two arrests over a year later. [Cops]

Two people are behind bars in connection with the 2019 death of a California toddler, who officials initially thought may have passed away from the flu.

The Union Democrat reports that Nicole Sparks, 23, the mother of 2-year-old Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood, turned herself in to Waterford authorities following the Monday arrest of her then-boyfriend, Joseph Maloney, 26.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Kolton passed away on January 15, 2019, after his mother dropped him off with Maloney in Waterford. Sparks left for work, with plans to pick her son up after her shift was over.

Hours later, Sparks received a call that her son was extremely ill. When she arrived to check on him, Koltyn was unresponsive. Sparks took him to the Adventist Health Sonora emergency room.

When doctors realized the seriousness of Koltyn’s condition, he was airlifted and taken to the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital. He died the same day.

Five months later, the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office completed an autopsy report, which confirmed Kolton had blunt force trauma. Doctors also said the boy had internal organ damage and severe brain trauma, according to Tracy Gulcynski, the boy’s paternal grandmother.

[Family Provided]
Gulcynski said despite the medical reports outlining the toddler’s injuries, Koltyn’s cause of death was listed for months as “possible illness or accidental.” Koltyn was getting over the flu when the incident happened. The family, however, never believed he died from an illness.

“He did have the flu but his death had nothing to do with the flu,” Gulcynski told CrimeOnline.

Ten months later, officials began treating Koltyn’s death as a homicide, according to Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel.

Kristin Sparks and Joseph Maloney [Police Handout]
Earlier this week, the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office announced that Maloney is facing charges of second-degree murder, child abuse, and assault on a child causing death. His bail has been set at $1 million.

Sparks has been charged with “suspicion of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death.” Her bail has been set at $25,000.

Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood/Family Handout]