A Chicago mother of six is accused of abusing her 4-year-old son before burning his body.
Alyssa Garcia, 27, reportedly kept her 4-year-old son Manuel Aguilar locked naked in a storage room filled with urine and feces, according to prosecutors. She is also accused of starving the boy, with witnesses saying he was so emaciated that you could see his bones, WGN reports.
The child welfare agency in Illinois reportedly had contact with Garcia before Chicago firefighters found the child's malnourished, partially burned body in August, according to The Associated Press.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services received a report in 2012 that claimed Garcia's children were being neglected. DCFS took protective custody of four children, including Manuel. The children were placed with foster parents before being returned to Garcia in 2015 after she completed parenting classes.
Garcia has six children, aged 10, 8, 6, and newborn twins who were born prematurely. The twins are reported to still be in the hospital for monitoring.
Prosecutors painted a disturbing picture of the conditions young Manuel was allegedly forced to live in.
According to assistant state attorney Jamie Santini, the child was often made to remain naked because he would urinate on himself. They continued to describe the child as being so skinny that his ribs were showing.
Santini added that a witness stated Manuel didn't like being kept in the back room, and would scream, "Let me out."
Prosecutors said the other children in the house discovered Manuel's remains in July. The cause of death had not yet been determined.
Garcia allegedly came up with a plan to hide the body, fearing that her other children would be taken away if she contacted the police.
She reportedly wrapped the boy's dead body in a blanket, and took the corpse to an abandoned house with her 17-year-old boyfriend and his 19-year-old brother, Christian Camerena, where she set the body on fire.
Police responded to a call about an arson at the abandoned house, where they discovered Garcia holding lighter fluid. Authorities opened an investigation for allegations of abuse and neglect, and Garcia and the two brothers have been arrested.
Garcia's bail has been set at $2 million, while Camerena's has been set at $1 million.