A 10-YEAR-OLD boy was starved and tortured to death by his own mother and her boyfriend because he had come out as gay, prosecutors claim.
Anthony Avalos is said to have suffered vicious and repeated abuse at his home in the Mojave Desert, California, before he died on June 21.
He was slammed onto the floor, whipped with a belt and cord and had hot sauce poured into his mouth, it is claimed.
The lad was also allegedly burned with cigarettes and tormented by not being allowed to use the toilet.
Anthony’s eight siblings witnessed and were forced to take part in some of the abuse, according to court documents.
They were forced to fight Anthony and keep watch “so he would remain standing or kneeling”.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote: “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.”
The deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family services confirmed that Anthony had previously said that he “liked boys”.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to Anthony’s home a day before he died in hospital.
His mum said the boy had fallen down the stairs
But the lad was discovered with severe injuries to his head and was also found to be covered in cigarette burns.
Later it emerged child services had been phoned at least 16 times over concerns Anthony’s parents were abusing both him and his brothers and sisters.
Heather Maxine Barron, 28, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 32, were charged with torture and murder.
They haven’t yet entered pleas and remain jailed on £1.5million bail each pending a hearing next month.
When Anthony was brought to a hospital, his heart had stopped and he had suffered a traumatic brain injury and a brain bleed, court papers claim.
He also had reddened eyes and numerous bruises, cuts and scrapes on his forehead, nose, mouth, cheek, neck, legs, shoulder, hips, back, buttocks, stomach, ankle, legs and feet, the documents allege.
County child welfare officials received a dozen referrals of suspected child abuse about the boy from 2013 until 2016.
Anthony had been removed from his home for several months when some of the reports of abuse were substantiated.
He was returned after family members received in-home counselling, welfare officials said.
After Anthony’s death, authorities removed the eight other children — aged between 11 months and 12 years old — from the home.
They are being cared for by county child welfare workers, officials said.
If convicted, Anthony’s mother could face up to 22 years to life in state prison.
Her boyfriend could be sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.
Anthony’s aunt Maria Baron reported both the mum and her boyfriend to officials and her nephew’s school three years ago but says nothing was done to help the kids.
She told CBS: “’Anthony deserves justice and the rest of my nieces and nephews do not deserve to go back to her.”