A Colorado woman and her husband have been arrested on multiple felony charges for allegedly killing their own baby, the youngest of their then-seven children, all of whom were allegedly abused and forced to live in squalid, inhumane conditions.
Jason Soltani and Joy Soltani were taken into custody on April 24 and charged with one count each of child abuse resulting in death, criminally negligent homicide, and manslaughter, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the Crowley County Sheriff’s Office, warrants from the 16th Judicial District of Colorado were initially issued for the couple on April 21 in connection with the August 2021 death of their infant son.
The Soltanis were able to evade law enforcement for several days until a security staffer working at the Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colorado, spotted the duo and recognized them from law enforcement photos posted to Facebook and contacted the local police department, officials said. Officers with the La Junta Police Department responded to the scene and took both suspects into custody without incident.
A copy of the probable cause affidavit obtained by Colorado Springs CBS affiliate KKTV provided additional details into the allegations against the couple.
WARNING: The details of the allegations may be disturbing to some readers.
According to the document, CCSO deputies on Aug. 9, 2021, responded to a call regarding an unresponsive infant at a residence located in Crowley County, about 160 miles southeast of Denver. Upon arriving at the scene, first responders reportedly found the baby and performed live-saving procedures until they were able to transport him to a hospital in La Junta via ambulance.
Authorities contacted the Soltanis, but the couple were suspiciously evasive and uncooperative, police reportedly said. For example, they were unable to provide authorities with the child’s birth certificate, refused to speak to investigators with the sheriff’s office, and gave doctors two different birthdates for the victim.
Unfortunately, the child succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the facility.
Following the distressing incident, a search warrant was reportedly executed at the Soltani residence, where authorities allegedly discovered an 18-year-old female and six children, all of whom were under the age of 8. Shockingly, the modest 1,465-square-foot home was found to be in a deplorable state, exhibiting signs of hoarding, including filthy rooms, sticky floors, and children sleeping on piles of dirty clothes and in dirty car seats, police reportedly said.
“The house was filthy with trails to the rooms, sticky floors, children sleeping on piles of dirty cloths and dirty car seats,” read a section of the arrest report cited by KKTV, in which the residence was described as a “hoarder house.”
“No one could identify where everyone slept, lived … no one was able to identify where the dead baby was found or slept or who had last seen the baby alive, or who had put the baby to sleep last,” investigators reportedly wrote. “The parents would not speak to law enforcement and were not present at the time of the search warrant.”
The document further revealed that the children were found to be filthy, unkempt, and reportedly emitting an odor of “human feces.” Authorities transported the kids to a church facility, where they were provided with food and an opportunity to play. Investigators reportedly said it was evident that the children had not been adequately fed. The younger children were subsequently placed under the care of the Department of Human Services.
Following the baby’s death, the Crowley County Coroner’s Office responded to the hospital where the parents continued to impede the investigation, authorities said.
“The coroner reported that he found the baby filthy, with dirt on feet, fingernails, and scalp with ‘a lot of wax build up in ears,’ the document reportedly states. “Parents would not accept the child’s death and claimed they were going to pray and have [redacted] resurrected and initially refused to give custody of the child to the coroner for autopsy.”
While the exact cause of death was yet to be determined, the autopsy revealed an absence of food in the baby’s stomach and no urine in their bladder, KKTV reported.
Interviews were then set up with the other children on Nov. 3, 2022, where two of the children reportedly told authorities that the baby “died with a plastic bag over it.”
On Feb. 8, 2023, more interviews were conducted with the kids in reference to the alleged abuse.
“The children were always starving and ate nonfood products to include human waste, paint, paper and cardboard,” the arrest papers reportedly state in regard to the interviews with the surviving children. The kids were reportedly never allowed out of their rooms and they were not allowed to play in their yard. There were claims they ate from one to two meals a day of Ramen noodles or cereal, with all of the kids sitting on the floor and eating out of the same bowl.
Investigators reportedly said that the parents physically abused all of the children and also withheld food and water as a form of punishment.
Following the death of the baby, the Soltanis in the summer of 2022 reportedly had another baby, their eighth child. Additionally, Joy Soltani is currently pregnant with the couple’s ninth child, KKTV reported.
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