The mother of a 10-year-old Lancaster, California, boy who came out as gay weeks before his death has been arrested and charged with his murder.
Heather Maxine Barron, 28, was charged with one count of murder and one count of torture for the death of her son, Anthony Avalos, by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Friday, according to a press release by the office.
She also faces one count of child abuse. Barron’s bail was set to $2 million, online jail records show.
Her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva, 32, was arrested and charged with Anthony’s murder and torture on Wednesday.
He faces one additional count of assault on a child causing death. His bail was also set to $2 million.
Officials with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services initially raised homophobia as a thread they wanted to investigate in Anthony’s death, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Anthony recently “said he liked boys,” according to DCFS Deputy Director Brandon Nichols, and Anthony’s aunt said it would have been a brave move for him to come out as gay in his home, the newspaper reported.
Anthony died on June 21 after being found unresponsive a day earlier at his family’s apartment.