97°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

California 10-year-old allegedly starved and tortured before death

LOS ANGELES — A 10-year-old Southern California boy was starved and tortured for days before his death, sometimes by younger brothers and sisters forced to take part in the beatings, according to prosecutors who have charged his mother and her boyfriend with his murder.

KNBC-TV on Tuesday cited court documents that alleged vicious and repeated abuse of Anthony Avalos at his Lancaster home in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles for five or six days before his death June 21.

The torture included slamming the boy onto the bedroom floor, whipping him with a belt and cord, pouring hot sauce into his mouth and forbidding him to use the bathroom, according to the documents.

Eight siblings witnessed and were forced to take part in some of the abuse, which according to the documents included making the other children fight Anthony and forcing the children keep watch “so Anthony would remain standing or kneeling.”

“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,” Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote in an motion filed Monday that asks a court to admit previous child abuse reports into evidence.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to Anthony’s home a day before he died at a hospital. His mother said the boy had fallen down stairs.

Heather Maxine Barron, 28, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 32, were charged with torture and murder. They haven’t entered pleas and remained jailed on $2 million bail each pending a hearing next month.

Hatami’s motion said that when the boy was brought to a hospital, his heart had stopped and he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and a brain bleed.

Anthony 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 foot.

County child welfare officials had 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 counseling, 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.

If convicted, Anthony’s mother could face up to 22 years to life in state prison. Her boyfriend could be sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Illinois becomes 11th state to allow recreational marijuana

Illinois’ new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation that makes the state the 11th to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use and the second to approve it through the Legislature rather than the ballot box.

Imprisoned supercop’s movie-like escape from Venezuela

As the last rays of sunlight faded into the Caribbean Sea, political fugitive Iván Simonovis was speeding toward an island rendezvous with freedom.

Kushner urges absent Palestinians to support $50B economic plan

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, appealed Tuesday for the Palestinians to consider his ambitious but harshly criticized $50 billion economic support plan despite their outright rejection of the proposal.

California legislature OKs health insurance mandate

The California Legislature voted Monday to tax people who refuse to buy health insurance, bringing back a key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care law in the country’s most populous state after it was eliminated by Republicans in Congress.

House, Senate may pass different immigrant emergency bills today

Democratic leaders in the House proposed somewhat tighter requirements for the care of unaccompanied refugee children as they sought to pass a $4.5 billion emergency funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis involving the thousands of migrant families detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Another Trump-Putin meeting remains mostly a mystery

The shadow of Helsinki lingers. Uncertainties about Russia’s past and future election interference continue. And tensions are high over hot spots from Iran to Venezuela.