Terms of a conditional settlement are expected to be announced Wednesday in a civil case involving the torture and death of a 10-year-old Lancaster boy.
A Lancaster woman and her boyfriend are charged with murder and torture in connection with the June 2018 death of her child, 10-year-old Anthony Avalos.
The boy’s father, aunt, uncle and six of his half-siblings filed a lawsuit last summer against the county, alleging that multiple social workers failed to properly respond to reports of abuse of Anthony and his siblings.
The announcement is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles. Family members are expected to attend.
In court papers, prosecutors alleged that Anthony was severely tortured during the last five or six days of his life. The alleged abuse included whipping with a belt and a looped cord, pouring hot sauce on his face and mouth, holding him by his feet and dropping him on his head repeatedly, according to the court papers.
Deputies and paramedics responded to a 911 call from Anthony’s mother June 20 and found her son unresponsive inside his family’s apartment. Authorities said they were told that the child had suffered injuries from a fall, but investigators quickly classified the death as “suspicious.”
Anthony died early the next morning, authorities said.
The family’s lawsuit cites other high-profile deaths of children who were also being monitored by DCFS — 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez and 4-year old Noah Cuatro, both of Palmdale — to allege “systemic failures” in the agency.
The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services issued a statement declining to comment on the specifics of the suit, but generally defending the agency’s work.
“At any given time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to pursue child safety every day in our communities,” according to the agency. “Our 9,000 employees do not take this commitment lightly and look to do everything possible to safeguard the children in our care.
“All DCFS employees are held the highest standards to ensure that the public trust in our service is honored and maintained.”
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