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A woman has been arrested after allegedly keeping her boyfriend's 7-year-old son trapped in a room before he starved to death.
39-year-old Leticia Bravo from Newburgh, New York, has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors explained that the victim, Peter Cuacuas, was kept in a bedroom "behind a door that locked from the outside" when he stayed with Bravo, which was every day except Saturdays when the pair would stay with the boy's father, Arturo Cuacuas.
In January the victim apparently stopped logging into his virtual school classes despite the school and Bravo having been in contact.
On February 10 Bravo is said to have brought the boy's lifeless and skinny body to St Luke's Hospital in Newburgh where he was tragically pronounced dead.
An autopsy concluded that he had died of malnutrition and he weighed a mere 37 lb (2.6 st) at the time of his death.
As well as being charged with second-degree murder on Thursday, Bravo also faces both first- and second-degree manslaughter charges. She could be given a life sentence.
Her boyfriend, the boy's father, was charged with criminally negligent homicide.
District Attorney David Hoovler said: "It is unthinkable that someone would accept the responsibility of caring for a child and then deny that child the basic necessities of life.
"It is truly disturbing how this child was kept hidden from school authorities before he died.
"He weighed 37 lb and he was 7-years-old. I don’t think there needs to be much more said than that.
"We have one person responsible for the condition that sets everything in motion that leads to Peter's death and you have another person that saw it happening while it was going on and should have known to take some action and didn't."
The next court date for Bravo and Cuacuas is set for October 26.
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