A mother allegedly locked her son, Yonatan Daniel Aguilar, in a closet for three years until he died. He was 11 years old, and his stepfather apparently had no idea he was there the entire time.
According to The Washington Post, he was last seen at his elementary school in Los Angeles, where teachers said he appeared to hoard food, a clear sign of general neglect. One of his teachers said he came to school with a black eye.
Social workers and authorities were alerted to these concerns, but apparently nothing was found that indicated the boy's household was unsafe.
Yonatan vanished soon after. Apparently, Veronica Aguilar, the boy's mother, pulled him out of school because she was offended by the social workers' questions.
According to court documents, Yonatan may have been autistic.
And even though the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services wanted to investigate further, social workers had no legal ability to do so, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Veronica Aguilar, the boy's mom, told his stepfather, Jose Pinzon, Yonatan was living in Mexico. She told the same to anyone else who asked about him.
Meanwhile, Yonatan was reportedly living at home with his mother and siblings the entire time.
In August of this year, Veronica told Jose Yonatan had died. He assumed she would be going to Mexico for the funeral, but instead she showed him the body.
Yonatan's siblings apparently knew about what their mother was doing but were forbidden to say anything to anyone. His siblings are 14, 16 and 18 years old.
When the boy's body was found by authorities, he weighed only 34 pounds and had bald spots and pressure sores. He was surrounded by medicinal cups, as his mother allegedly keep him sedated with liquid sleeping medicine.
The 39-year-old has been charged with child abuse and murder. She's being held on $2 million bail and has pleaded not guilty. According to KTLA, she faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.