Editor's note: This story contains details of child neglect and abuse some readers might find disturbing.
A man and woman were charged Friday with the neglect of a 12-year-old boy who died in Bloomington after about a year of abuse and starvation.
Detectives believe 32-year-old Luis Posso and his wife, 25-year-old Dayana Medina Flores, used leg cuffs, shackles and a dog shock collar on Posso’s son, Eduardo, Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain said in a press conference Tuesday.
Swain said this is the worst case of child abuse he has seen in 30 years.
“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.
The cause and manner of the boy's death has not been determined, Monroe County Coroner Joani Shields said. He was severely emaciated. Bruises covered his body.
He had 0% body fat, MCSO Lt. Jennifer Allen said. It is initially believed he died of starvation.
Posso drove Eduardo to the hospital after he stopped breathing, Allen said.
Eduardo’s sister and two stepbrothers, ages 9, 5 and 2, were put in the care of Child Protection Services. None of them were enrolled in school.
Allen said she was told Eduardo was the child who acted up the most.
She said she believes the family is from Florida. They had been in Monroe County for less than a week and were staying at the Economy Inn on South Old State Road 37. Posso and Flores were doing advertising as independent contractors for a circus scheduled to come to town.
Allen said the family left Eduardo in the motel when passing out flyers to keep him out of the public eye.
A housekeeper at the Economy Inn said she never saw Eduardo in the room but noticed a camera from a web-based security system. Detectives found an app on one of the parent’s cell phones corresponding to the surveillance system.
Detectives found several photographs and a video of Eduardo in the bathtub with restraints and a dog shock collar around his neck.
Allen said detectives believe Eduardo’s condition became more severe within the last year, according to videos and photos from the parents' cell phones.
“He appeared to be somewhat of a normal, happy little boy approximately a year ago,” Allen said.
Detectives talked to family members in Florida who were surprised the family had moved and thought the children were in school.
CPS was involved with the family in Florida, Allen said. She was not aware of additional cases.
MCSO is working to track the family’s previous locations through their cell phones and credit card receipts.
The office was notified by the IU Health Bloomington Hospital early Friday morning that a child was unresponsive.
Posso and Flores denied withholding food from Eduardo. Posso admitted to physical abuse, but did not admit using restraints, Allen said.
Posso faces the preliminary charges of neglect of a dependant, criminal confinement and domestic battery. Flores faces the preliminary charges of neglect of a dependant and criminal confinement.
Allen said more charges could be added, including a possible murder charge.
She urged community members to speak up if they think a child might be in danger or see something out of place.
“You may be the one that saves that child’s life and not even realize it,” Allen said.
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