DCFS launches investigation following release of calls in Lancaster abuse case

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The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has launched an investigation in response to evidence unsealed in the murder of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos. (KABC)

The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has launched an investigation in response to evidence unsealed in the murder of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos.

Avalos' mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, have been indicted, accused of torturing and killing the boy.

Numerous calls made to DCFS came to light after grand jury documents were unsealed by a judge presiding over the case. Calls made to DCFS reported injuries and abuse to Avalos and his siblings.

RELATED: Numerous calls made to DCFS detailing abuse of 10-year-old Lancaster boy released
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Numerous calls made to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services have come to light after grand jury documents were unsealed by a judge presiding over a Lancaster child-abuse case.



It was learned one report came from a DCFS worker. She reported bruises on the face and arm of one of Avalos' siblings.

A recording released shows that she didn't seem to take the issue seriously.
Hotline worker: "What's our allegation, would you say?"
DCFS worker: "Ahaha."
Hotline worker: "I know - you have to - we have to put something..."
DCFS worker: "To cover our butt?"
Hotline worker: "I know. To cover..." (laughter)

RELATED: Lancaster mother and her boyfriend indicted in murder of 10-year-old son, abuse of 2 other children
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A Lancaster mother and her boyfriend have been indicted in a case stemming from the torture and killing of the woman's 10-year-old son.



The head of DCFS, Bobby Cagle, issued a statement that read in part:

"I am outraged and deeply concerned about any indication that our department failed to take an issue of child abuse seriously. I have initiated an investigation into the specifics, and will take appropriate action as we continue our efforts on behalf of the children and families of Los Angeles County."

Los Angeles County prosecutors describe Avalos' life as 10 years of torture that was doled out by Barron and Leiva.

Leiva and Barron pleaded not guilty and their murder charges includes the special circumstance of torture. Prosecutors have not decided whether they'll seek the death penalty.
Related Topics:
child abusetorturemurderchild deathLancasterLos Angeles CountyLos Angeles
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