Los Angeles County reached a $32 million tentative settlement with the family and friends of the Lancaster boy, aged 10, who was allegedly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend in 2018.
In 2019, Anthony Avalos’ father, Victor Avalos, sued the county claiming the Department of Children and Family Services failed the boy.
Heather Maxine Barron was charged along with her boyfriend Kareem Ernesto. They had been facing the death penalty, but this was removed last year.
At a Wednesday morning news conference, Attorney Brian Claypool announced that the tentative agreement had been reached. The money will go to the father and three of Anthony’s half siblings, who were also allegedly tortured.
He said a responsible department would have removed the boy from his mother’s home years before he was killed and he would still be alive today.
“The basis of that lawsuit was: 13 times L.A. County DCFS was notified of abuse within that home, and, guess what? L.A. County DCFS went 0 for 13.”Claypool said. “They never even went up to the plate to bat for Anthony Avalos.”
Anthony’s aunt said family members had contact with the boy for the first seven years of his life, but after that his mother had custody of him and they were not allowed to see him.
“If we would have done things differently, maybe he would still be here with us,”Maria Barron stated. “I put all my trust and faith into a system that, at the time, I didn’t know was broken. If I would have known then what I know now, trust and believe I would have never called. We would have tried to figure things out, just like we always did.”
Victor Avalos said there are many things he didn’t get to do with his son, like show him where he grew up.
“Nothing is going to bring him back, and I don’t think that’s fair,”He said.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors must approve the conditional settlement. This can take anywhere between 30 and 90 calendar days.
Claypool claimed that the Claypool family is currently pursuing a separate lawsuit against a mental healthcare agency that was supposed provide Anthony with counseling. The agency, however, was not in contact with DCFS and claims neither communicated with the other about what was happening in the child’s life, Claypool alleges.