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Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood’s death was originally thought to be caused by the flu, but his family never believed it

By Elaine Aradillas
October 21, 2019 03:00 PM
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Koltyn Sparks
Credit: Facebook

Nicole Sparks had left her toddler son in the care of a babysitter so she could go to work when she heard the boy was sick, she told multiple local news outlets.

Sparks and the caregiver, who has not been publicly identified, took Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood to a nearby emergency room in Senora, Calif., where he was described as unresponsive. He was then airlifted to University of California Davis Children’s Hospital on Jan. 15, the Union Democrat reports.

Koltyn, who was nearly 2, was pronounced dead later that day.

“In the beginning, it was stated as a suspicious death, meaning he could have possibly been sick or it was accidental. We knew in our hearts that was not true,” the boy’s paternal grandmother Tracy Gulcynski told the newspaper.

Five months after Koltyn’s death, the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office completed its autopsy report and stated the boy died from blunt force trauma. The report stated “he was found to have severe brain and internal organ damage.”

On Oct. 17, the Senora Police Chief confirmed to reporters that they were investigating Koltyn’s death as a homicide.

“We hope to close the case soon, but I cannot provide a date or time frame for that,” Police Chief Turu VanderWiel told the Union Democrat.

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Meanwhile, the boy’s family started a Facebook page and are determined to get justice for Koltyn. They protested at various government agencies hoping someone would take notice. They hosted fundraisers in an effort to raise awareness about Koltyn and children who have been abused, according to the Modesto Bee reports.

For now, the boy’s grandmother says the family is waiting for the news of an arrest.

“To me, this is one of the worst crimes you could ever commit,” Gulcynski told the Union Democrat. “It’s a very cowardly crime to injure someone who cannot defend themselves, or speak to clearly say that he was hurt.”