Mother charged with murder, torture of bisexual 10-year-old son
Heather Maxine Barron has been formally charged with murder, torture and one count of child abuse against her 10-year-old son, Anthony Avalos.
His murder is believed to be linked to Anthony’s expressed bisexuality, after he said he “liked boys and girls.”
Neither Barron nor boyfriend Kareem Leiva were initially criminally charged after the 10 year old’s death, despite safety concerns and reports dating back several years, which had led to Anthony’s removal from their home until 2014.
However, Leiva was arrested and charged after he “made statements that led detectives to arrest him for the murder of Anthony Avalos,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said several days ago, at a news conference.
Until now, Barron had not been charged but the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has now released details that she has been charged with murder, torture and one count of child abuse against Anthony.
Leiva is also accused of murder and torture and an additional charge of assault on a child causing death. Barron’s bail has been placed at $2 million and she has not yet entered a plea.
Barron initially claimed that Anthony’s injuries were due to a fall, which Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services said was implausible, given the severity of wounds to his head.
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Reports state that Anthony had been forced to fight other children, locked into a cage and that his body showed signs of prolonged malnutrition.
Eight children have been removed from Barron and Leiva’s residence subsequent to Anthony’s death, according to People.
Complaints had been made to district authorities regarding Anthony’s treatment – including sexual, emotional and physical abuse by family members – since he was four years old.
Anthony’s extended family, including his maternal aunt Maria Barron, have said that his coming out was a mark of bravery, in such a viciously abusive environment.