Community hopes to honor dead Wyoming toddler with mural
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — More than five months after a Cheyenne man was sentenced to 18-20 years in prison for killing 13-month-old Silas Ojeda last October, the boy’s face has appeared on the wall of a building at a busy intersection in town.
Linda Guerrero, the wife of Silas Ojeda’s grandfather, and other family and friends planned a mural on the old Salvation Army building.
The boy’s body hasn’t been found, and the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department is still actively investigating the case, said Department Spokeswoman Capt. Linda Gesell.
“We will never close this case until we try to find the body and interview the mother,” she said.
The mural is meant to memorialize Silas and raise awareness about child abuse.
“Since (the incident) happened, it opened my eyes that people do that to their kids,” Guerrero said. “This is about raising awareness — people don’t know about child abuse . It could happen to anybody.”
Last Thursday, local artist Eddie Fernandez was working on the mural.
A striking black-and-white portrait of the boy peered over the side of the building down the roadway. Teddy bears flank the image.
“I have the ribbon started over there,” Fernandez said, pointing to a blue area in the corner of the building. “That is going to wrap around, and we’re working on a slogan for it.”
Cheyenne Stitch owner Steve Sears owns the building. He said it was an easy choice to say yes when asked to help the cause.
“Anything that I could ever do to prevent child abuse or a tragedy like that, I’ll do anything I can,” he said.
Logan Rogers, the boyfriend of Silas’s mother, Rhiannon Ojeda, was sentenced in March to 18-20 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
In his court confession, Rogers said he had been using methamphetamines around the time Silas died. Rogers said he was making the child a bottle when the boy fell off the counter and had a concussion.
Rogers said the boy had a seizure in the bath, and Rogers attempted to do CPR but was unsuccessful.
Rogers confirmed in court that the boy’s mother was home at the time. She has yet to speak with law enforcement and was never charged in connection with the incident.
Rogers gave the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department several leads about where Silas’ body could be during the months of investigation.
One was a dumpster at Laramie County Community College, where Rogers said he dumped the boy’s body after wrapping him in a white blanket.
Cadaver dogs also identified the driver’s side door of Rhiannon Ojeda’s car and the dumpster at LCCC as having contact with human remains.
When nothing was returned, the search then turned to a landfill in Ault, Colorado, where Cheyenne dumps most of its municipal trash.
Crews sifted through 3.3 million pounds of garbage through 10 days and found nothing.
Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com