Roman Paul Morales, the Colorado man charged with allegedly strangling his 2-year-old cousin, was not acting like himself in the days before the boy’s lifeless body was discovered in a tote bag stuffed inside a storage bin, according to an affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.
The unsealed affidavit released Monday claims that, while in a police interrogation room, Morales – a 21-year-old Lakewood, Colorado, resident with a history of methamphetamine and alcohol abuse, according to the court documents – whispered to his mother that he was “told” to hurt the child.
Meanwhile, relatives of the accused have now told detectives that Morales had been acting “paranoid” in the days leading up to his arrest, making claims that both “the mob” and the FBI were staking him out.
The affidavit further alleges Morales told relatives that “people with drones” were spying on him and insisted his phones had been bugged. He also started habitually taking pictures of symbols or patterns he’d come across in different homes he would visit, insisting they were all related to an unspecified cult, court documents claim.
The affidavit says that after 2-year-old Donnie Ro’Mello Romero was reported missing, officers searching the home that Morales shares with his mother and aunt found the boy at the bottom of a large storage bin.
The boy’s body was located under some blankets and pillows, inside a tote bag that had been used to store the child’s toys. The affidavit says a black electrical cord had been wrapped around Donnie’s neck “multiple times” and blood was trickling out of the boy’s nose and mouth. Blood had also started to pool at the bottom of the storage bin, the affidavit says.
Minutes before the child was discovered missing, one relative explained to investigators she heard Donnie coughing. The relative called out to Morales from the bathroom to find out what was wrong.
“Roman replied that Donnie was choking on gummies,” the affidavit reads. The choking eventually subsided.
Court documents also indicate Morales had told relatives that portraits in his mother’s yearbook were speaking in code to him and that cars passing his home were also honking in code. He also reported hearing blips and beeps in his head, likening the noise to Morse code.
According to the affidavit, Morales had been released from jail five weeks prior to the boy’s murder. He had assaulted his mother two days before being incarcerated, relatives told cops. The family members also stated that Morales had been cutting himself in recent weeks and lashing out at people. He remained calm during a 10-minute search for the 2-year-old, the affidavit says.
Morales’ next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2 at 3:00 p.m. His public defender, Mitchell Ahnstedt, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
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