Update: Yesterday, we told you about the arrest of Kyle McClelland after his two toddler-age sons were found wandering a south Jeffco neighborhood unsupervised; see our previous coverage below.
Now comes additional and even more troubling information about the case.
Amberay Synder, the boys' mom, has been cited for child abuse after leaving them with McClelland, who has a protection order in his name at her request.
Moreover, McClelland had allegedly been drinking when he fell asleep. As a result, the boys may have been on their own for as long as four hours.
Individuals facing criminal prosecution tend to shy away from the media — but Snyder spoke to 9News in the wake of McClelland's arrest.
She confirmed that McClelland was placed under a protection order this past February at her request. The order holds that Snyder isn't supposed to watch over the boys without supervision, presumably owing to what a prosecutor in McClelland's first court appearance yesterday called "prior alcohol issues."
McClelland has a record that includes charges for assault and violating a court order — and Snyder, too, has been busted on multiple occasions. 7News references arrests for domestic violence, assault, theft, forgery and, yes, violation of a protection order.
As for her decision to leave the kids with McClelland, she told 9News that she needed someone to watch her boys and didn't have any other childcare options.
She adds that she was shocked when she learned the boys had been found walking the streets near McClelland's home and were in the vicinity of Blue Heron Park, which includes a sizable pond.
"I would never, ever, ever let my kids go. And it tears me up inside to know that they were running in the streets, and that there was a lake right there that they could've drowned in," she said.
Meanwhile, an affidavit obtained by 7News states that McClelland had been drinking, then took a nap — and when he awakened, the children were gone.
Fortunately, a neighbor spotted the boys, who are now in the custody of Teresa Alexander, Snyder's mom. In her own 9News interview, Alexander had harsh words for both parties in the case, saying, "I honestly think they both should have been arrested. Both parents are responsible for this. She knew she was putting them in harm's way. She knew he was not supposed to have those kids."
Oh yeah: There's a good reason why McClelland was so easy to track down after he was connected to the children. He was wearing a GPS tracking device owing to a previous legal problem.
Look below to see booking photos for McClelland and Snyder, as well as a 7News item about the latest developments. That's followed by our previous coverage.
Original post, 5:53 a.m. October 8: On Facebook, Kyle McClelland comes across as a loving father who dearly misses his two little boys.
At last report, however, McClelland was ensconced in the Jefferson County jail on suspicion of child abuse after the toddlers were found wandering a south Jeffco street.
The drama began yesterday, when the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office posted a photo of the children on its Facebook page.
Here's the shot, which remains online in its original form — but in light of subsequent events, we've pixilated it to protect the boys' identity.
The text accompanying the shot reads:
Do you recognize these children? JeffCo deputies are trying to find their parents. Please help us by sharing this post!
At approximately 12:30 p.m. today, JeffCo deputies were called to the 5400 block of S. Quail Way after a neighbor found two toddlers walking down the street by themselves.
The two boys may be twins and are thought to be between 2 and 3 years of age, weighing approximately 25 pounds with dark brown curly hair. One is wearing a lime green t-shirt and the other is wearing a blue t-shirt and a diaper.
A door-to-door canvas of the immediate area was ineffective in identifying the children or where they live.
Anyone who has any information on the identify of these kids or their parents is asked to call 911 immediately.
A report from 7News adds details. A woman in the neighborhood who helped care for the kids until Jeffco deputies arrived said that the children were unable to provide much information about their parents. When asked for the name of their mother, they said, "Mommy." When asked to ID their father, then replied, "Daddy."
Before long, however, the JCSO had determined that the dad in the case was McClelland, who lived in the vicinity. He was promptly taken into custody on suspicion of child abuse.
McClelland has had previous brushes with the law, although nothing as serious as the charges he's expected to face in this case.
According to 7News, his criminal record includes busts for trespassing, theft, assault, leaving the scene of an accident and assorted driving violations.
His Facebook page suggests that he was involved in some kind of custody dispute involving the boys within recent months.
Nonetheless, a series of posts emphasize how much he cares for his kids.
One item from June features this graphic:
Underneath it is text that reads in part:
This is so true coming from a father! I love my boys more then anything. I have honestly mad mistakes in my life. Who hasn't...but my children r my world. They inspire me to be the best I can, to go further then I ever knew I could.. to be stronger then anything I have ever faced. I love you boys... You are my world. I know I haven't been around much lately and I'm sorry. I love you both with all my heart and things will get better. I will always be here for you. No matter what our future holds, just remember I am your dad, u are a part of me. I would never steer you wrong. I will always be your hero! I miss you boys and someday things will be different.
Days later, he added a number of photos, including the one at the top of this post, along with these lines: "God, I miss my family. I wish we could change the past. i wish people could learn to forgive and communicate. I love them always.... I wish things were different and mistakes weren't made. God watch over us and lead us where we need to be... amen."
Thus far, a booking photo of McClelland hasn't been released. In the meantime, Jeffco social services has reportedly been assigned to the case in an effort to make sure the children are safe. Look below to see the aforementioned 7News piece.