Funeral Set for 10-Year-Old Lancaster Boy

QUARTZ HILL (CNS) - Funeral services will be held today for Anthony Avalos, the 10-year-old Lancaster boy who was allegedly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend.

“We would like (it) if everyone can wear superhero shirts, in honor of Anthony,” according to a funeral notice from a family publicist.

Services will begin at 9 a.m. with a rosary and viewing at the Saint Junipero Serra Parish Church, 12121 60th Street West in Quartz Hill, followed by the funeral service at 10 a.m., after which Anthony will be interred at the Good Shepherd Cemetery, 48121 70th Street West.

The boy was found unresponsive in his mother's home June 20. He died the next day.

Prosecutors contend in court papers that Anthony was severely tortured during the last five or six days of his life, alleging that his mother and her boyfriend “abused, beat, assaulted and tortured Anthony Avalos,”

The alleged abuse included whipping the boy with a belt and a looped cord, pouring hot sauce on his face and mouth, holding him by his feet and dropping him on his head repeatedly, according to the court papers filed earlier this month.

Anthony's mother, Heather Barron, 28, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, have been charged with murder and torture in the boy's death.

A county official said earlier that the boy had come out as gay in the weeks before his death, and authorities were trying to determine if homophobia may have played a role in his death.

An attorney for Anthony's family, including his father, aunt and uncle, is also demanding answers from the county Department of Children and Family Services, alleging the agency had multiple contacts with the family in recent years and indications of abuse but failed to take steps to protect the boy.

DCFS officials say they are conducting a thorough review of the case.

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