Crime

A Waterford toddler died in January. His family and friends seek answers in Sonora case

Watch protest over boy’s death investigation

People protest Monday near the Stanislaus County Coroner's office in Modesto, Calif. Family and supporters have been waiting for a report on the death investigation of 23 month old Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood who died in Tuolumne County in January.
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People protest Monday near the Stanislaus County Coroner's office in Modesto, Calif. Family and supporters have been waiting for a report on the death investigation of 23 month old Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood who died in Tuolumne County in January.

Updated story ==> Family of Waterford toddler learns details of how he died in January

Original story:

Family and friends of Koltyn Sparks-Blackwood of Waterford, who died at 23 months in January, asked for answers about the Sonora case during a Monday morning protest.

About 40 people gathered outside the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office, which contracts with Tuolumne County. They said they have waited too long for word on how Koltyn died.

That could come as soon as Monday, said Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel in an afternoon phone interview. He said his department is reviewing the coroner’s report and will consult with the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office about possible charges.

Koltyn was in the care of a babysitter on South Shepherd Street in Sonora on Jan. 15, when he was taken to Sonora Adventist Health hospital with flu symptoms, the Union Democrat reported. The toddler turned out to have severe brain and internal organ injuries and was airlifted to UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, where he died later that day, the newspaper said.

VanderWeil said Monday that the babysitter was not a family member. The chief is not commenting in detail on the case.

“We need justice,” paternal grandmother Tracy Gulcynski said outside the coroner’s office on Oakdale Road in Modesto. “We need an arrest. Our Koltyn was a little child. He’s not a statistic.”

Koltyn was the son of Nicole Sparks of Waterford and Joshua Blackwood of Oakdale. The father had visitation rights, Gulcynski said by phone later Monday.

Her grandson was just learning to talk, and he often said “vroom, vroom” to express his love of motorcycles, she said.

“He was a glowing little boy,” Gulcynski said. “He loved babies and animals — was crazy about animals.”

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