‘Mom’ of little boy who died, covered in cigarette burns, after alleged torture and abuse is arrested for murder

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who died under suspicious circumstances in California last week has been charged with murder and torture, NBC News reports.

Heather Barron of Lancaster was reportedly arrested and charged on Friday with torture and murder in connection to the death of her 10-year-old son Anthony Avalos. The boy was found unresponsive and covered in cigarette burns in his home on June 20, and died the next morning after being transported to a hospital.

Barron had reportedly told police that Anthony fell and hit his head, but investigators were skeptical of her story.

The mother’s arrest comes a day after her boyfriend, 32-year-old Kareem Leiva, was arrested and charged with murder. During an interview with police, Leiva reportedly showed detectives a gash on his neck and said it was from a recent suicide attempt. He was taken to a hospital with a police escort. Leiva faces an additional charge of assault on a child resulting in death.

Barron and Leiva are both being held on $2 million bail, according to NBC News.

In the years before Anthony’s death, authorities and child protective services received dozens of reports of alleged abuse in the home where Anthony lived with six siblings. The allegations included starvation, sexual abuse, confinement, and being held upside-down from a stairwell.

Barron is expected to be arraigned on Monday.