LOS ANGELES – A Californian woman and her friend were charged on Friday with the death of the woman's ten-year-old son, who had previously reported being beaten, detained and not nurtured, prosecutors said.
Heather Maxine Barron and Kareem Ernesto Leiva were each charged with murder and torture.
Barron is confronted with an additional number of child maltreatments, and Leiva is also confronted with an attack on a child that causes death.
The sheriff MPs were called to a house in Lancaster, north of Los Angeles, on June 20, after Barron called 911 to report that the boy had fallen down the stairs.
MEPs found him unresponsive in the house, and he died in a hospital the next day  Homicide detained Anthony's death as "suspicious" and the Los Angeles District Department of Child and Family Assistance said there were signs of " physical abuse, including signs of severe beatings and malnutrition. "
Leiva was arrested Wednesday after he was interviewed by sheriff investigators and Barron was arrested on Friday, officials said. It was not clear if they had lawyers who could comment on the allegations.
Investigators said the two were arrested after evidence was found that Barron's story about her son had fallen down the stairs
"We feel that he has suffered a traumatic brain injury that led to a bleeding episode led to the failure of his organs, "said Sheriff Lt. Derrick Alfred.
Child Welfare County Officers received a dozen child molesting referrals from 2013 to 2016 for the boy. Officials said.
After the death of Anthony, child protection officers removed eight other children – between 11 months and 12 years old – from the house. They are looked after by childcare workers, officials said.
On Friday, Anthony's aunt gathered with attorneys and community members to demand that the authorities provide additional information about past investigations and visits to the home.
"This boy should have been rescued from this household," said family lawyer Brian Claypool. "Had Anthony Avalos been saved and removed after all the colossal red flags we've seen – 16 reports we've heard of – he would still be alive today."
Child welfare officials said Anthony had been removed from his home for several months months when some of the abuse reports were credited. He was sent back after family members received counseling at home, the agency said.
The agency said it confirmed two allegations of sexual abuse when Anthony was 4, but the case was closed when it was determined that his mother was taking good care of him. The last recommendation for Anthony in April 2016 was general neglect. He was interviewed and the allegations were declared unfounded or inconclusive, officials said.
"Anthony's dreams of becoming a cop or firefighter will never be fulfilled," said his aunt Maria Barron. "But rest assured, my sweet boy, that you are always loved, never forgotten, Anthony, you will always be in our hearts."
Associated Press writer John Antczak contributed to this report.
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