Just this morning, the LA Times reports that investigators have arrested and charged Kareem Leiva, 32, the boyfriend of Heather Barron (10-year-old Anthony Avalos’s mother):
…on suspicion of murder after he ‘made statements’ during an interview at the Lancaster station that led detectives to believe he was involved in the boy’s death.
Leiva is reported to have lived with the family on and off and had three children with Barron. He is currently being treated for a self-inflicted laceration to his upper chest and will be booked on a murder charge after he is medically clear, with bail set at $2 million. Barron was interviewed but has not yet been arrested.
Sheriff's investigators arrest mother's boyfriend in death of 10-year-old Lancaster boy https://t.co/VJaxeA6HAS
— Twitcher ❦ (@syqau) June 28, 2018
Los Angeles county authorities are still investigating the suspicious death of a 10-year-old boy at a Lancaster home. The boy, 10-year-old Anthony Avalos was found unresponsive inside his family’s apartment at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday by Sheriff’s deputies responding to a 911 call for medical help by his mother.
The Los Angeles Times reports the boy was found with severe head injuries and cigarette burns all over his tiny body. His mother, Heather Barron claimed Avalos’ injuries were the result of a fall. He died the next day.
After his death, the county removed seven other children from the home Avalos shared with them and their mother, Barron and her live-in boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
According to Huffpost, Barron and Leiva were:
…the subject of at least 16 calls made to the family services department since 2013…at least 13 of those calls specifically mentioned Anthony as an alleged victim.
His Aunt, Maria Barron asserts that Avalos and his siblings told family members they were being abused and made “to eat trash,” and that she and others had called the police and family services to get help for the children, though seemingly nothing was done.
Now, Deputy Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Brandon Nichols reports that Avalos had recently told Barron he “liked boys and girls,” though Nichols did not elaborate further.
People are understandably upset over the loss of this young boy when so many tried to get him help.
Among the allegations, that Avalos had been sexually abused, that he was malnourished, and had been physically abused since at least 2013:
My heart just fell. I wish I could take in every child who is mistreated!!! I can’t handle this.
— Kris❤️M. (@4everRoo) June 26, 2018
This is heartbreaking, Anthony Avalos was a 10-year-old boy who came out as gay and was beaten, burned with cigarettes, locked up, and starved.
He died from his injuries.
— Q. Allan Brocka (@allanbrocka) June 27, 2018
Anthony Avalos was 10-years old.
-16 investigations into his abuse since 2013
-sexual abuse at age 4 by grandparents
-locked away, not fed, forced to fight
-finally, cigarette burns over his body and blows to the head
If any child ever needed a superhero it was Anthony Avalos. https://t.co/XvoxwvBitU
— Mike Mongo (@MikeMongo) June 28, 2018
CPS failed yet another innocent child
— sugrr (@sugrconnoisseur) June 26, 2018
— Christopher Rossiter (@ChrisPR73) June 27, 2018
Ignorant statement. Not only did the family report but so did OFFICIALS (school) and nothing was done. This happens so often!! We are supposed to be able to rely on people to assist in the intervention of endangered children. It’s part of our tax dollars. BUT THEY ARE USELESS
— sugrr (@sugrconnoisseur) June 27, 2018
“Heather Barron and Leiva were the subject of at least 16 calls since 2013 from school administrators, a teacher, a counselor, family members and others to DCFS and police alleging child abuse, sources told The Times for an article Sunday.”
— SFD (@SDebidour) June 26, 2018
Avalos’ Aunt, Maria Barron recently spoke out to reporters at a vigil held for the boy:
CBS2 at 11p: Heartbroken aunt speaks out about 10 year old Anthony Avalos who died after he was found not breathing at Lancaster apartment. pic.twitter.com/szMF4vFnst
— Jeff Nguyen (@jeffnguyen) June 22, 2018