Last week, after more than four years of abuse, 10-year old Anthony Avalos was murdered. Police Wednesday night arrested Anthony's mother's boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, reportedly a member of the violent MS-13 gang, for the murder. Before he died, Anthony told investigators at the LA County Dept. of Children and Family Services that "he liked boys and girls." Local reports say he had come out as gay.
Anthony's mother on June 20 called 911 to report her son had fallen.
"He was not breathing and unresponsive when emergency workers found him in his Lancaster home, and he died the next day," NBC News reports. "His body showed signs of physical abuse and malnutrition, child welfare workers said, and his death was classified as suspicious."
Leiva reportedly has a history of homophobia.
Anthony "had injuries to his head, showed signs of malnourishment and likely died from abuse, the Department of Children and Family Services said in a statement.
"A report indicates that at least 16 calls had been made to the county's child abuse hotline since 2013 before Anthony died," WLWT reports. "Department of Children and Family Services Director Bobby Cagle confirmed that callers said Anthony and his siblings were denied food and water, sexually abused, beaten and bruised, dangled upside-down from a staircase, forced to crouch for hours, locked in small spaces with no access to the bathroom, forced to fight one another, and forced to eat from the trash."
Police removed eight other children from the home shared by Heather Barron, who is Anthony's mother, and Kareem Leiva.
WTTG reported on Leiva's arrest: