The boy’s mother Heather Barron and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva were both charged with murder, torture, and assault to a minor on account of the death of Anthony Avalos from Lancaster, California.
Avalos was found severely injured with multiple wounds on his head in his home on June 20. He died at the hospital the following morning. The mother had told the authorities that the injuries were caused by a fall, LA Times reported.
After the authorities found the circumstances of Avalos’s death suspicious, they issued an investigation to determine if someone harmed the child. Physical abuse was suspected since the beginning.
As the investigation developed, the authorities wanted to determine whether homophobia played a role in the boy’s murder. Read more on our Twitter account @amomama_usa
Brandon Nichols, deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services shared that, weeks before the tragedy, Avalos ‘said he liked boys,’ according to ABC7
‘One of the things that we have heard is that there may have been a motivation on the part of the man in the household regarding to the sexuality of the child, and so we're looking into that in a very deep way,’ said Bobby Cagle, director at the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).
The child welfare system was the focus of much questioning after it surfaced that DCFS had been alerted about the domestic abuse Avalos and the rest of the children that were under the custody of Barron and Leiva.
Avalos aunt, Maria Barron reported the authorities on the case many times, to no avail.
After been interviewed in relation to the case at the Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in Lancaster, Leiva’s statements led to his arrest on the murder of the child. Heather was arrested a couple of days late, as reported by NBC Los Angeles.
If they are convicted, Heather could face up to 22 years in prison, and Leiva could be sent behind bars for a maximum of 32 years.
Knowing as she did the terrible situation Avalos had to endure at home, his aunt Maria said that coming out about his sexuality in the middle of such hostility further showed the great courage the late child had.