10-year-old bisexual boy’s parents ‘forced his siblings to beat him’ until he died
A 10-year-old boy who died of abuse just weeks after coming out as bisexual was whipped, beaten and starved by his mother and her boyfriend, prosecutors have said.
Court documents filed after Heather Maxine Barron and Kareem Ernesto Leiva were charged by Californian authorities for the torture and murder of Anthony Avalos alleged that the child’s siblings were forced to take part in the abuse.
The boy’s torture, prosecutors say, included being slammed into the bedroom floor, whipped with a belt and chord, forbidden from using the bathroom and having hot sauce poured into his mouth.
They said his parents forced Anthony and his eight sisters and brothers to fight each other, as well as making the other children – aged between 11 months and 12 years old – watch Anthony in order to keep him standing or kneeling.
“At one point,” the documents allege, “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.
“During the five or six days mentioned above, all nine children were residing in the Lancaster apartment where the crimes took place.”
Local authorities have removed Anthony’s siblings from the house, according to the New York Post, and they are being taken care of by county child welfare officers.
The horrific injuries suffered by Anthony were laid out by Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, who was also a prosecutor in the case of Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old who was brutally tortured and killed because his mother Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, thought he was gay.
The motion states that when he was brought into hospital, medical records show the 10-year-old was in full cardiac arrest, had to be intubated because he couldn’t breathe on his own, had suffered a “traumatic brain injury” and had a brain bleed.
Anthony also had reddened eyes, as well as cuts, bruises and abrasions all over his body, from his forehead to his
feet, the documents indicate, WCMH-TV has reported.
Brandon Nichols, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Families, previously revealed that Anthony had said “he liked boys and girls.”
The agency, which said it would investigate whether discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was a factor in Anthony’s death, has reported that from 2013 onwards, it got 13 referrals about the child.
Anthony was even removed from his home for several months and only returned after his relatives received counselling.
There were two allegations of sexual abuse made when Anthony was four years old, the agency added, but the case was closed after authorities decided that his mother was taking good care of him.
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Another referral involving Anthony and alleging general neglect was received in April 2016, but was found to be unfounded or inconclusive, and was closed after a month.
When Anthony was taken to hospital, Barron said her son’s injuries were down to an accidental fall.
If she were convicted, she could face up to 22 years to life in prison, while her boyfriend could be handed up 32 years to life in prison.
Both are being held in lieu of $2 million in bail money.