11-year-old boy's body found in closet at Echo Park home; mother arrested

ByLeanne Suter and ABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Thursday, August 25, 2016
EMBED <>More Videos

The mother of an 11-year-old boy has been arrested after the boy's body was found wrapped in a blanket inside a closet at their Echo Park home, authorities announced.

ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The mother of an 11-year-old boy has been arrested after the boy's body was found in a closet at their Echo Park home, authorities announced Tuesday.

Veronica Aguilar, 39, was booked on suspicion of child endangerment resulting in death or great bodily injury, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

An investigation indicated the boy suffered from signs of malnutrition and physical abuse, according to the LAPD.

Officers responded about 2:15 p.m. Monday to the 2200 block of Sunset Boulevard, where they met with the victim's stepfather, Jose Pinzon. The man told the officers that Aguilar, his wife, had told him that her son was dead, the news release said.

Pinzon had found the child wrapped in a blanket inside a closet at the nearby residence, located in the 2100 block of Santa Ynez Street, police said.

Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics were called to the home, where they pronounced the boy dead. He had been deceased for several hours, according to investigators.

Coroner's officials were expected to conduct an autopsy and determine the official cause of death.

Aguilar was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Her booking photo was released by authorities in hopes of locating the child's biological father.

By late Wednesday evening, neighbors had begun honoring the boy by creating a makeshift memorial -- comprised of flowers, candles and teddy bears -- outside the Echo Park home.

"We hear that social services (officials) had been over here a couple of times already," said a nearby resident, who identified herself only as "Cecilia." "They didn't live here that long," she added, referring to Aguilar and her family.

Police detectives said the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services had previously contacted the family. It was unclear what actions were taken by the agency, which said it could not comment on the specifics of the case.

"In my 25-year career as a law-enforcement officer, this ranks as one of the worst cases I've seen," said LAPD Detective Moses Castillo. "It's really disheartening. No child, no matter the age, should ever have to experience this type of life and this type of end to his life."

Aguilar is expected to be arraigned Thursday.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Child Protection Section of the LAPD's Juvenile Division at (213) 486-0586. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.