OTTAWA — A Napoleon man was arraigned Wednesday in Putnam County Municipal Court after confessing to committing a murder 10 years ago.
Travis Soto, 30, was arraigned on charges of murder and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, in relation to the death of his son, two-year-old Julio Baldazo, who was killed after being struck by an all-terrain vehicle in 2006.
Originally, Soto, who was living in Continental at the time, said he did not see the child when he drove around the corner of a garage and struck him. The boy lived for another one to two hours after the incident, but Soto did not seek medical attention for him, according to a previous Lima News article. He was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to child endangerment.
On Monday, Soto, now living in Napoleon, entered the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and requested to speak with an officer to make a murder confession in regards to that incident, a decision made reportedly because of his conversion to faith.
“He said he finally had to come clean,” Putnam County Sheriff Tim Meyer said. “He told us that, before, he didn’t have religion, and now he’s trying to make things right with himself and God. He wanted to get it off” his conscience.
Despite this confession, Meyer said this is not an open-and-shut case, as investigators plan to revisit all the evidence related to the original 2006 case.
“We’ll be going back and reviewing the entire case, looking at it from a different aspect now,” he said. “We still have to prove our case. The onus is still on the prosecution, so we still have to present the case.”
For Meyer, this case represents uncharted territory for him in terms of having this kind of unsolicited confession.
“I’ve been in this business 38 years, and this is a first for me,” he said.
Soto did not enter a plea and was ordered held in lieu of $500,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Putnam County Municipal Court.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.
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