Anthony Avalos

AVALOS

LANCASTER — Tuesday would have been Anthony Avalos’s 13th birthday. 

The Lancaster boy was 10 years old when he was allegedly tortured and murdered by his mother and her boyfriend. He died June 21, 2018.

Avalos’s aunt Maria Barron will hold a celebration of life for him at 11 a.m., Saturday at the Anthony Avalos Memorial Tree, at 43748 Challenger Way. 

The tree is near the apartment where he lived for the last seven years of life. Mourners left flowers and other mementos at the tree after his death.

“It’s where we think of him and that’s why we make it so bright and shiny,” Barron said in a telephone call Tuesday.

She will give out bracelets in Avalos’s honor.

“Everybody’s welcome to come,” Barron said.

Those who loved Avalos will share stories about him and there will also be a mariachi band.

“He liked all types of music,” Barron said. “He just heard music and as soon as he heard it, he just started dancing away. He loved it all.”

Prosecutors allege that Avalos was severely tortured during the last five or six days of his life by his mother, Heather Barron, 31, and her boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva, 35. The alleged abuse included whipping the boy 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 a prosecution court filing.

In August 2019, the office of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that it would seek the death penalty against Heather Barron and Leiva. 

However, prosecutors will no longer be allowed to seek the death penalty under new directives by District Attorney George Gascón, who was elected last November.

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