Boy, 10, Came Out as Gay Just Weeks Before His Suspicious Death, Official Says
The death of a 10-year-old California boy is being investigated after he was found with severe head injuries and cigarette burns all over his body in his home last week
The death of a 10-year-old California boy is being investigated after he was found with severe head injuries and cigarette burns all over his body in his home last week.
Anthony Avalos came out to his family weeks before he died in Lancaster, California, authorities have revealed.
Before he died Anthony had “said he liked boys,” Brandon Nichols, the deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, said according to the Los Angeles Times.
The DCFS director, Bobby Cagle, reiterated his deputy’s statement, telling ABC 7 News that his department is investigating allegations that Anthony was abused because of his sexuality.
“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,” he told the station.
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Neither Anthony’s mother, Heather Barron, nor her boyfriend Kareem Leiva, have been charged in relation to the 10-year-old’s death.
It was Barron who called 911 about 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday saying her son was unresponsive, the Times reported. He died in a hospital the next day. Barron allegedly claimed the injuries came from a fall.
About 12 calls were made to DCFS in relation to Anthony beginning in February 2013, Cagle said in a statement obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The newspaper reported the first call alleged sexual abuse by a grandparent that didn’t live with Anthony or the other six children in the home. Anthony was 4-years-old at the time.
Other allegations included sexual, emotional and physical abuse as well as neglect, the newspaper reported.
Anthony’s aunt, Maria Barron, told the Times that living in an alleged abusive situation and coming out “only reinforces how brave Anthony was.”
Maria says she began alerting DCFS in 2015 to bruises and other injuries she began noticing on the children which she alleged were caused by Leiva.
She told the department the children alleged Leiva had locked them in small spaces where they had to urinate and defecate on the floor, according to the outlet.