Court Documents Reveal Patterns Of Alleged Torture Of 10-Year-Old Boy Killed By Mother And Her Boyfriend
Anthony Avalos' torture included being whipped with a belt and forced to drink hot sauce.
New details of a young boy's shocking abuse and eventual death are finally being uncovered after a judge ordered the unsealing of the grand jury proceeding transcripts on Monday.
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Anthony Avalos, 10, was brutally beaten by his mother, Heather Maxine Barron, 29, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 32. According to WLS-TV, Barron and Leiva punched, kicked and used wrestling moves on the young child, leaving severe injuries all over Anthony's body.
"There were injuries to Anthony's side and his hip area, both his left hip and his right hip, and his arms, and even injuries to his feet," Jonathan Hatami, assistant district attorney to the case, told the grand jury.
Anthony's torture, prosecutors say, included being slammed into the bedroom floor, whipped with a belt and cord, prohibited from using the bathroom and having hot sauce poured directly into his mouth.
Barron and Leiva also deprived the boy of food and drink, going as far as locking the child in his room for days on end.
"At one point Anthony could not walk, was unconscious lying on his bedroom floor for hours, was not provided medical attention, and could not eat on his own," Hatami wrote in court documents earlier this year.
Hatami added that Anthony was so thin, his ribs were visible through his skin.
Even though several calls were placed to child welfare specialists for two years in Anthony's home state of California, workers determined there weren't any patterns of abuse occurring, writes People.
Several individuals that called to report alleged abuse included a daycare worker, an assistant principal and the uncle of the murdered boy, according to The Los Angeles Daily News. Grand jury documents all reveal DCFS claims it assigned no fewer than 12 social workers to work with Anthony and his family over the course of three-and-a-half years, but there had been no new allegations in the 18 months before Anthony’s death.
Anthony succumbed from his injuries earlier this year on June 21, after Barron first called the police on June 20 to report that Anthony was hurt. Records at the L.A. County Sheriff's Department show that she first claimed that her son was injured in a fall.
While a motive for his homicide has not yet been named, The Los Angeles Times also reports that Anthony came out as gay to his parents weeks before his death.
Brandon Nichols, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, disclosed in an interview in June that Anthony "said he liked boys" but did not divulge any more details, including when Anthony may have revealed this news.
Given this revelation at only 10, Anthony's aunt, Maria Barron commends her late nephew's perseverance amid the horrible abuse is a testament to his strength.
Following Anthony's death, Barron and Leiva were both arrested at their California home. Both are charged with one count of murder and one count of torture along with one count of child abuse in the supposed beating of Anthony's younger brother. Leiva also faces another count of assault on a child causing death.
Both have pleaded not guilty to the allegations and remain jailed with bail set at $2 million per person. If convicted, Barron faces up to 22 years to life, and Leiva faces a maximum of 32 years to life in prison, per NBC Los Angeles.
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