The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday morning, Aug. 28, that prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against a mother and her boyfriend accused in the murder and torture of her 10-year-old son, Anthony Avalos.
Heather Maxine Barron, 29, of Lancaster, Los Angeles, California, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 33, were indicted on murder charges following Anthony’s death on June 21, 2018. They remain jailed without bond, according to FOX11 Los Angeles.
Prosecutors contend Anthony was the victim of severe child abuse. According to court documents, Anthony’s mother and her boyfriend would repeatedly pour hot sauce on his face and mouth, whip him with a belt and cords, hold him upside down and drop him on his head over and over.
Anthony’s death investigation revealed the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services had received at least 16 reports regarding the physical and sexual abuse Anthony was enduring at home.
Earlier this month, members of his family filed a lawsuit against the LA County’s DCFS agency, accusing the county and multiple social workers of failing to properly respond to reports that Anthony and his siblings were being abused.
The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Anthony’s father, aunt, uncle and six half-siblings, requests damages in excess of $50 million.