10-year-old was tortured for days and killed by mother and her boyfriend after he said he 'liked boys'
10-year-old Anthony Avalos' torture included being slammed on the floor, being whipped with a belt and cord, and being forbidding from using the bathroom
A 10-year-old boy who lived in Southern California made the brave decision to come out as gay and ended up paying for it with his life. According to the prosecutors who have charged his own mother and her boyfriend for his murder, Anthony Avalos was starved and tortured for many days before he died. It was also reported that his elder brother and sisters were all forced by the adults to be part of the beatings sometimes, even though they did not want to.
On July 2, NBC LA cited court documents that alleged the brutal and repeated abuse that the boy went through at his home in Lancaster north of Los Angeles in the Mojave Desert. It was reported that he was tortured for at least five or six days before he finally died on June 21.
According to the court documents, the child's torture included slamming him onto the bedroom floor, whipping him with a belt and cord, pouring hot sauce into his mouth, and forbidding him from using the bathroom.
It is said that eight of Avalos' siblings saw the abuse and were even forced by the adults to take part in the horrifying abuse. The documents stated that some of the children were forced to fight their brother and the rest had to keep watch "so Anthony would remain standing or kneeling".
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote in a motion that was filed on July 2: "At one point, Anthony could not walk, was lying unconscious on his bedroom floor for hours, was not provided medical attention, and could not eat on his own."
Deputies from the Sheriff's office were called to the family home just one day before he tragically died in the hospital. His mother, 28-year-old Heather Maxine Barron, told the deputies that he had fallen down the stairs.
Both she and her 32-year-old boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, were subsequently charged with torture and murder. They have still not entered their pleas and are currently behind bars on a $2million bail each, waiting for the hearing next month. The motion that was written by Hatami has said that the child was taken to the hospital where his heart stopped. He also suffered from a traumatic brain injury that led to his brain bleeding.
The 10-year-old also had red eyes and many bruises, cuts, and scrapes on his forehead, nose, mouth, cheek, neck, legs, shoulder, hips, back, buttocks, stomach, ankle, legs and foot. Officials from the county child welfare department said that they had received many referrals of suspected child abuse about the child that began in 2013 and continued till 2016.
He had been taken away from the home for a few months when some of these reports were validated. Welfare officials then said that he was given back to the family after the members received in-home counseling.
After the 10-year-old died in the hospital, the police immediately removed the eight other children, who were between the ages of 11 months and 12 years old, from the abusive home. Officials have said that they are currently being looked after by county child welfare workers. It is believed that the child came out as gay to his family just a few weeks before he died.
The deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Brandon Nichols, told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that the boy had allegedly said: "I like boys". He did not say if the child had told anyone about his sexual orientation else besides his family.
The police are looking into the possibility of homophobia playing a major role in the child's death. If they are convicted, the mother could get 22 years to life in a state prison and the boyfriend could get 32 years to life. This incident is the latest in some pretty horrifying stories of parents torturing and killing their children for being gay.
A woman and her boyfriend from California were recently sentenced to a life in prison for continuous torture of the woman's eight-year-old son, whom they suspected was gay. The child suffered multiple injuries and his body was covered with abuse marks and he eventually succumbed five years ago.
Judge George G Lomeli, in a rare exhortation during the hearing on June 7, told the couple – Isauro Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez — that he hoped they would think about the pain they caused the eight-year-old in their life in prison. "I hope you think about the pain you caused this child and that it tortures you," the judge said called the violence Gabriel Fernandez suffered as "horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil," according to the Los Angeles Times.
The 34-year-old woman pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February and admitted that it was an intentional murder by torture. The woman was sentenced to life in prison without parole after the hearing while the woman's boyfriend was given a death sentence.