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Florida father helped cover up son’s crime scene after 18-month-old child shot, killed: sheriff

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office arrested a man for allegedly helping to cover up a crime scene after his son was charged in the deadly shooting of an 18-month-old child.

Flagler County, Florida law enforcement officials made a second arrest in the shooting death of an 18-month-old child back in September 2023, after an investigation revealed the father of the original suspect allegedly helped stage the crime scene and dispose of the evidence.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday that detectives determined CJ Nelson Sr. provided instructions to CJ Nelson Jr. on how to cover up the shooting of 18-month-old Ja’liyah Allan on Sept. 3, 2023.

Nelson Jr. was previously indicted on manslaughter charges by a Flagler County grand jury.


“The apple did not fall far from the tree and CJ Nelson Sr. will never be the father of the year or even a day by his actions,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I again commend Detective Gordon and our Major Case Unit for continuing to dig to find out who tampered with the scene and what was done and by whom.”

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On the night of the shooting, authorities said, Nelson Sr. was called to the home, where he allegedly had his son hand over the firearm used in the shooting, only handling the gun with a t-shirt to prevent his fingerprints from transferring onto the gun.

The sheriff’s office said Nelson Sr. put the gun in the bedroom where it was located by deputies, and instructed witnesses to tell deputies he and his son were outside smoking at the time of the incident.

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The two men then went to a residence in Palm Coast, Florida, where Nelson Sr. told his son to take a shower so that any trace of evidence or gunshot residue could be removed from his body.

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After an investigation, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Nelson Sr. on Jan. 5, 2024, on charges of tampering with evidence and providing false information to law enforcement during an investigation.

He was arrested at the Sheriff Perry Hall Inmate Detention Facility – where his son was already in custody – and released after posting $15,000 bond.

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The sheriff’s office said Nelson Sr. has an extensive criminal history going back to 2003, including battery, cocaine possession, sale of cocaine and child neglect with bodily harm.

“We have a very good team, and we have very good technology,” Staly said. “We just kept working the case ever since the shooting as we knew immediately from the evidence the crime scene had been tampered with and witnesses were not being forthcoming.”

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