A 10-year-old boy was starved and tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend after he told them he was gay , according to prosecutors.
Anthony Avalos is said to have been ‘abused to death’ by those who should have looked after him at his home in the Mojave Desert, California.
He died on June 21.
Heather Maxine Barron, 28, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 32, have both been charged with torture and murder.
The young boy was slammed onto the floor, had hot sauce poured into his mouth and was whipped with a belt, it is claimed.
It’s also alleged he was burned with cigarettes and banned from using the toilet.
Anthony’s eight siblings witnessed and were forced to take part in some of the abuse, according to court documents.
They were forced to fight Anthony and keep watch “so he would remain standing or kneeling”.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote in the indictment: “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.”
The deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family services confirmed that Anthony had previously said that he “liked boys”.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to Anthony’s home a day before he died in hospital.
His mum claimed the boy had fallen down the stairs.
But when Anthony was discovered he had severe injuries to his head and was also found to be covered in cigarette burns.
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It has emerged child services were phoned at least 16 times over concerns Anthony’s parents were abusing both him and his brothers and sisters.
They haven’t entered pleas and remain jailed on £1.5million bail each. A further hearing will be held next month.
When Anthony was brought to a hospital, his heart had stopped and he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and a brain bleed, court papers claim.
He also had reddened eyes and numerous bruises, cuts and scrapes on his forehead, nose, mouth, cheek, neck, legs, shoulder, hips, back, buttocks, stomach, ankle, legs and feet, the documents allege.
County child welfare officials received a dozen referrals of suspected child abuse about the boy from 2013 until 2016.
Anthony had been removed from his home for several months when some of the reports of abuse were substantiated.
He was returned after family members received in-home counselling, welfare officials said.
After Anthony’s death, authorities removed the eight other children — aged between 11 months and 12 years old — from the home.
They are being cared for by county child welfare workers, officials said.
Anthony’s aunt Maria Baron reported both the mum and her boyfriend to officials and her nephew’s school three years ago but says nothing was done to help the kids.
She told CBS: “’Anthony deserves justice and the rest of my nieces and nephews do not deserve to go back to her.”
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