29-year-old Heather Maxine Barron, and boyfriend, 33-year-old Kareem Ernesto Leiva, are being held without bond after being arrested following the young boy’s death in 2018, reported FOX13.
Maria— aunt of Anthony Avalos, was in court as @LADAOffice announced intention to seek the death penalty against the 10 year old boy’s mother, & her boyfriend. They’re charged w/Anthony’s torture-death. The family blames @lacountydcfs for not protecting Anthony. @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/IGHXSh2Lpt
— Craig Fiegener (@CraigNews3LV) August 28, 2019
Prosecutors say Anthony was severely tortured by the couple using various methods which included pouring hot sauce on the boy’s face, making him kneel on rice, whipping him with a belt, and dropping him on his head repeatedly.
Legal documents also indicate the couple would, from time to time, starve the young boy and force him to eat from the garbage.
The Daily Mail reported that Anthony and his two siblings were being forced to fight each other and crouch for hours at at time.
According to the LA Times, following the hearing David Barron, Anthony’s uncle, told reporters, “I know the death penalty will not bring Anthony back, but this is one of the worst kind of crimes you could commit so it deserves the worst kind of punishment.”
Anthony is said to have had wounds all over his body, which included red dots, cuts, bruises, abrasions, and a traumatic brain injury.
The couple also allegedly watched pornography and performed sex acts with each other in front of Anthony and at least one other sibling.
Lawsuit Against LA County’s DCFS
It was later revealed the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services had received 16 reports of both physical and sexual abuse the boy had been subjected to while at home.
In response, family members are filing a $50 million lawsuit against LA County’s DCFS agency, accusing the county of failing to respond to the reports.
The District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against the mother and boyfriend accused in the murder and torture of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos: https://t.co/23K7BrcB6x
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) August 29, 2019
According to FOX11, an attorney for the family, Brian Claypool, told reporters when announcing the suit, “You will see that there were so many times where these kids disclosed to DCFS how bad it was.’’
“DCFS workers actually saw these kids getting abused and the still did nothing about it,” he added.
Maria Barron—Anthony’s aunt—stated if the DCFS had “done their job when we called and told them what was going on we wouldn’t be here today.”
“He would be at school right now, he would probably be trying out for band, starting the sixth grade with his cousin.”
The DCFS issued the following statement, “At any given time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to pursue child safety every day in our communities.”
“Our 9,000 employees do not take this commitment lightly and look to do everything possible to safeguard the children in our care.”
“All DCFS employees are held the highest standards to ensure that the public trust in our service is honored and maintained.”
Anthony’s death is 1 of 3 related to alleged negligence on the part of the DCFS.