Anthony Avalos, boy allegedly tortured to death by his mother, remembered on 14th birthday

LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Anthony Avalos would have turned 14 years old Saturday, and people who knew the boy from Lancaster are remembering him, as a legal battle continues over how he died.

Family, friends and first responders gathered at Anthony's tree in Lancaster to honor the little boy who would've turned 14.

"It is really hard you know. It's hurting, and it's hard," said Victor Avalos, Anthony's father.

His heartbroken father visited from Mexico to honor his slain son.

Anthony Avalos was killed in 2018. The 10-year-old was allegedly tortured to death by his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva.

RELATED | Family of 10-year-old boy killed in Lancaster settles part of suit against Los Angeles County
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Relatives of a 10-year-old Lancaster boy who died in 2018 after allegedly being subjected to extensive torture by his mother and her boyfriend reached a settlement in the part of their lawsuit against Los Angeles County, attorneys told a judge on Thursday.

The pair face up to life in prison if convicted after Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón took the death penalty off the table.

"Hopefully give some closure to the family, give some closure to the community so they can put this case behind them," said Deputy DA Jonathan Hatami. "The best thing I can say is, we do try to get a small sense of justice for the family and for the community."
Anthony's family reached a settlement in their lawsuit against the county for the 10-year-old's death. No details have been released.

RELATED | Anthony Avalos case: DA George Gascón takes death penalty off table in child torture, murder trial
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DA George Gascón's office has ordered the death penalty off the table in the trial of a Lancaster couple accused of torturing and murdering 10-year-old Anthony Avalos.

The family sued the county and multiple social workers for failing to properly respond to multiple reports of abuse against Anthony and his 6 half-siblings.

The social worker assigned to Anthony's case was the same one who had previously allegedly not reported abuse in the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.

"We are the voice for all the children, for all the children that have been abused," said Olivia Rubio, Gabriel Fernandez's aunt. "We need to stop this child abuse. There needs to be more awareness out there."

The district attorney handling Anthony's case says that after a long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the case against his mother and her boyfriend is finally about to go to trial.

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