Many calls were placed to Family Services, but the kids remained in their mother's care.
A 10-year-old boy died of suspicious circumstances last week and The Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services says they were aware of alleged abuse prior to his death. They also revealed that he “liked boys” in a statement.
Young Anthony Avalos died from what his mother said was a fall in his Lancaster Calif. home. The Advocate reports that his body was covered in cigarette burns and according to councilors, teachers, and family members, his six siblings were also being abused.
"He had a severe head injury consistent with a brain bleed, plus bruises and abrasions all about his body," said DCFS Director Bobby Cagle. " All that indicates to me that that's non-accidental."
As to whether homophobia played a part in Anthony's death is yet to be determined as investigators try and piece together what happened.
His aunt, Maria Barron, says she repeatedly told authorities about the abuse the children faced in the home both from the mother Heather Barron and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva who was convicted of domestic abuse back in 2010.
Barron says the kids faced beatings, sexual abuse, being locked in small spaces, and deprivation of food and water.
There are still no answers as to the reason why the children were allowed to stay in the home even after multiple calls to the DCFS, but Cagle says it's too early to tell if the welfare system failed them.
Anthony's aunt said her nephew was courageous and his coming out, "only reinforces how brave Anthony was," she told the Times.
A similar case in Southern California involving 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez happened five years ago when his mother and her boyfriend tortured him because they thought he was gay.