Anthony Avalos who was the 10 Year-Old who was murdered last week by his mother’s MS-13 gang member boyfriend, had recently come out to his family prior to his death.  Identified as Kareem Leiva, 32, and is reported to be the boyfriend of the child’s mother, was arrested Wednesday and charged with the murder of 10-year-old ‘Anthony Avalos’. Several family members and friends believe homophobia contributed to Anthony Avalos’ death.

Detectives said that ‘Anthony Avalos’ was found covered in cigarette burns and suffering from head trauma last week in his Lancaster home. His mother, Heather Barron, called 911 to report that Anthony Avalos had been injured in a fall. When first responders arrived, Anthony was unresponsive. He was transported to the hospital where he died the next day.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said that police arrest of Kareem Leiva was because of the statements he made to detectives which immediately led them to believe that he was their prime suspect. Leiva who was convicted in the past on domestic abuse charges back in 2010 is being held on $2 million bail.

Sheriff McDonnell

Deputy director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, Brandon Nichols, told the Los Angeles Times that Avalos recently announced he “liked boys.” said Nichols.

WLWT reports….”A report indicates that at least 16 calls had been made to the county’s child abuse hotline since 2013 before Anthony died. 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.”

David Barron, Avalos’s uncle and a co-worker of Kareem Leiva, said he had a history of homophobia claiming that on a number of occasions Karen was “uncomfortable just being around” gay men.

Caseworkers involved with the family reportedly documented that Kareem Leiva was a member of the criminal street gang MS-13 which has a branch in El Salvador that murders members if they are discovered to be gay.

However Sheriff McDonnell declined to discuss Leiva’s possible motive to reporters stating that homophobia “has not come up in our investigation as a motivation at this time.”

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

Anthony Avalos Photo Courtesy of Scallywag and Vagabond

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