An Echo Park mother was charged today on suspicion of murder and child abuse after her 11-year-old son was found lifeless in a closet in her home, prosecutors announced.
Thirty-nine-year-old Veronica Aguilar was arrested Monday after cops found the boy's body “wrapped in a blanket in a closet,” according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
“The investigation revealed that the victim suffered from signs of malnutrition and physical abuse and had been deceased for a few hours,” the LAPD said.
The victim “allegedly died due to neglect and showed signs of severe malnutrition,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Authorities went to the home in the 2100 block of Santa Ynez Street Monday afternoon after the boy's stepfather told police the 11-year-old was dead, the LAPD said. The stepfather is not a suspect, police said.
After news of the boy's demise broke Tuesday, on Wednesday it was reported that the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had fielded calls years ago that the 11-year-old had possibly been abused.
“We're prohibited by state law from disclosing case specifics,” said DCFS spokesman Armand Montiel. “We are not legally allowed to even comment.”
However, he said the department has filed a petition with juvenile court asking for permission to discuss details of the Echo Park case with the media. Montiel also said a review of how case workers handled the boy's situation was underway and that no employee had yet been sanctioned.
“It's a sad and tragic situation,” he said. “We join the public in grieving this senseless death. We rely on the public to help safeguard children because we can't do this alone.”
Aguilar was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon. She faces 15 years to life behind bars if she's successfully convicted.
The exact cause of death was still under investigation.