Police have arrested a woman’s boyfriend in connection with the death of her 10-year-old son who may have come out as gay shortly before he was found dead, reports said.
While police have ruled out homophobia as a possible motive for the crime, they’ve arrested Kareem Leiva, 32, on suspicion of murder after he “made statements” during a police interview that indicated he was involved, police said Wednesday evening.
Leiva lived with the boy, Anthony Avalos, in his Lancaster home, about an hour north of Los Angeles, on and off and is the father to three of his siblings with the boy’s mother, Heather Barron, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Anthony died in an area hospital last week after his mother called 911 to report he’d fallen and needed medical assistance.
After investigators determined the boy was malnourished and severely beaten, they classified the death as suspicious and on Wednesday arrested Leiva, who remains hospitalized for a self-inflicted laceration to his upper chest. After he is medically cleared, he will be booked on murder charges and will be held on $2 million bail, police said.
The mother was interviewed but not arrested, the outlet reported.
Initial reports from the Department of Children and Family Services saying Avalos was found covered in cigarette burns were later proven to be “grossly overstated” but police did not elaborate on Anthony’s injuries and an autopsy is not yet complete.
Officials removed eight other children — from 11 months to 12 years old — from the home as the investigation continues.
The agency said that between 2013-2016, it received a dozen reports related to Anthony that included allegations of sexual, emotional and physical abuse, as well as general neglect. The most recent report is two years old.
The callers to DCFS alleged Anthony or his siblings were denied food and water, beaten, sexually abused, dangled upside-down from a staircase, forced to crouch for hours and to eat out of a trash can, according to the paper.
The LA Times spoke with sources who said preliminary results of Anthony’s autopsy are consistent with assault but don’t show signs of torture or prolonged abuse.
Source: Read Full Article