Before his brutal death on June 21, Anthony Avalos was allegedly tortured for days.
The 10-year-old Lancaster, California, boy who came out as gay weeks before his death was allegedly beaten and abused, according to court documents obtained by NBC 4 Los Angeles.
Anthony, who died last month after he was found unresponsive in his family’s home, had been allegedly tortured for about five or six days while the other children in the house were forced to watch and allegedly participate in the abuse, the outlet reports.
Anthony had been repeatedly dropped on his head, whipped with a belt and a cord, slammed into furniture, was starved, had hot sauce poured down his throat and was not allowed to use the bathroom, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said in a motion obtained by the outlet.
He was also allegedly forced to kneel with some of the 8 children in the house told to stand watch to make sure he did not get up.
“At one point, Anthony could not walk, was unconscious lying on his bedroom floor for hours, was not provided medical attention and could not eat on his own,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote in the court documents.
When paramedics rushed him to Antelope Valley Hospital, Anthony was “in full cardiac arrest; suffered reddened eyes” and his body was covered in bruises and cuts, according to court documents. Prosecutors said the 10-year-old also had a brain bleed and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Anthony’s aunt, Maria Barron, tells PEOPLE “he was an amazing kid.”
“He was very loving and always wanted to cuddle,” says Maria. “He was a hard worker. Dancing was something he always enjoyed. He loved watching football with his uncle David. He loved the Cowboys.”
“He loved going to the park,” she continued. “He was good at playing video games. He always enjoyed eating pupusas when his mama would make them for him.”
Anthony’s mother, Heather Maxine Barron, 28, was charged with one count of murder and one count of torture for his death. She also faces one count of child abuse.
Her bail was set to $2 million.
Her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, was also arrested and charged in Anthony’s murder and torture last week Wednesday. He faces an additional count of assault on a child causing death with his bail set to $2 million. Neither has entered a plea.
Barron initially told police he was injured in a fall, authorities say.
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An autopsy is not yet complete that would reveal the exact cause and manner of Anthony’s death, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Wednesday at a news conference announcing Leiva’s arrest.
Officials with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, which investigated 13 prior allegations of child abuse at the boy’s residence between February 2013 and April 2016, initially suggested homophobia may have played a role in Anthony’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Anthony recently “said he liked boys,” according to DCFS Deputy Director Brandon Nichols, and Anthony’s aunt said it would have been a brave move for him to come out as gay in his home, the newspaper reported.
However, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Chris Bergner told reporters that homophobia, “has not come up in our investigation as motivation at this time.”
Sheriff McDonnell added: “We wouldn’t discuss motive at this point [in the investigation]. Too early.”
Eight children have since been removed from the residence — where Leiva lived off-and-on with Anthony’s mother — and are currently in DCFS custody and awaiting placement, McDonnell said.