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Murder Charges Filed In The Death Of 23-Month-Old Koltyn Blackwood

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Criminal charges have been filed against Joseph Maloney and Nicole Sparks in the January 2019 death of 23-month-old Koltyn Blackwood. Maloney, 26 of Sonora, is charged with second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death and he and Sparks, 23, are both charged with child abuse. The two-year, on-going investigation by the Sonora Police Department and Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office issued arrested warrants on Monday, January 25. Maloney was arrested at his home in Sonora. His bail is set at $1,000,000. Sparks’ arrest warrant remains outstanding. Her bail is set at $25,000.

Acting District Attorney of Tuolumne County Eric Hovatter and Chief of the Sonora Police Department Turu VanderWiel made the announcement stating the charges are the result of a lengthy two-year, on-going investigation by the Sonora Police Department and Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office.

Maloney is charged with second-degree murder, assault on a child causing death, and child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death. The child abuse charge states that Maloney personally inflicted great bodily injury on Koltyn. If convicted on all charges, Maloney faces up to a 25 year to a life sentence in state prison. Sparks is charged with child abuse under circumstances likely to cause great bodily injury or death, and if convicted, she faces up to 6 years in state prison.

The District Attorney’s office states Maloney should be scheduled for an in-custody, video arraignment on Wednesday, January 26, 2021. An attorney from the DA’s Office will be present at the arraignment to argue against his potential release from custody.

Koltyn’s family released the following statement: “We would like to thank everyone that put in countless hours of hard work to make this arrest. Especially the Sonora Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office. We would also like to thank all of the reporters that helped keep us going over the past two years. Now we can move forward and concentrate on Koltyn’s Law.”

Due to the case’s sensitive nature and on-going legal proceedings, the District Attorney’s Office, Sonora Police Department, and Koltyn’s family will not be commenting further on this case.

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