A California mother has been charged with the murder and torture of her 10-year-old child who suspiciously died after saying he "liked boys".
On Friday (June 29), Heather Maxine Barron, 28, was arrested and charged with the murder, torture and one count of child abuse against her son Anthony Avalos, who died in hospital last Thursday (June 21) after suffering a head trauma at his home in Los Angeles.
Barron's boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, was arrested earlier this week after making statements and now faces the same charges in relation to Avalos' death.
According to LA County, Barron and Leiva have been accused of torturing the child in the days leading up to his death and Barron now faces a sentence of 22 years to life in prison while Leiva faces 32 years to life in prison.
Barron had initially claimed that Avalos' injuries were due to a fall, but the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) called it "implausible" due to the severity of his wounds.
The LA Times reported that social workers and police were told that Avalos had been abused for years before his death and reports claim that the 10-year-old had been locked in a cage and forced to fight other children.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County DCFS had been receiving complaints about the child's treatment since 2013. Many of the complaints claimed that Avalos was being physically, emotionally and sexually abused.
The case is currently under investigation.