A 12-year-old boy died last week in Indiana after being starved, beaten, and shackled by his abusive parents, police said.
Eduardo Posso was declared dead after his father brought him to a local hospital on May 23. Eduardo was “severely emaciated,” weighed between 50 and 55 pounds, had 0% body fat, and was covered in bruises, coroner Joani Shields said at a press conference Tuesday.
Eduardo’s father and stepmother, Luis Posso and Dayan Median Flores, were subsequently arrested and charged with felony neglect. They could face murder charges once the cause of death is determined by the coroner.
Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain said Eduardo was frequently restrained and put in the bathtub. Investigators uncovered wrist and ankle restraints, chains, and a dog shock collar in the motel room where the family was living.
While investigating their cellphones, they found videos of Flores and the other children “coming and going in the bathroom and paying no attention to the child.” They also found a selfie of Posso posing with his restrained son.
Posso and Flores worked as promoters for a circus and would travel the country passing out flyers. Eduardo, and three other children in their care, were pulled out of school about a year ago to travel with them.
The three other children — ages 9, 5, and 2 — were Eduardo’s biological and stepsiblings. They would pass out circus flyers with their parents, but he would typically be left in the motel room and out of the public eye.
Detective Lt. Jennifer Allen said Eduardo “appeared to be a normal, happy boy” about a year ago, but “within last year things got more severe.”
During questioning, Posso and Flores denied withholding food from Eduardo, but admitted to physically abusing him, claiming that they did it because he “acted up the most.”
Flores also admitted that they used restraints on him.
Both parents are being held in prison on $500,000 bail each and are charged with three counts of neglect and one of confinement. Posso also faces a charge of domestic battery.
Police are looking into whether they might face more charges in the other states where they had traveled.
The other children are healthy and now with child protective services.
Authorities working on the case expressed how deeply disturbed they are by the case, with Allen saying “there’s really no words for this kind of abuse.”
“You don’t even want to let your mind go to imagine what this child’s thoughts were and what his prospects for his future were,” Swain said.