Man beat, burned 3-year-old boy in case of 'horrific' child abuse, prosecutors say

HOUSTON -- A 3-year-old boy is hospitalized in stable condition and the man described as his stepfather is charged with injury to a child.

The charge doesn't begin to describe the damage detailed to the child in court today. The boy showed signs of repeated beatings, cigarette burns and bruises to his body, plus a bloated abdomen and "stick-thin arms."

The probable cause document states that food and nutrition had been withheld from the child, and not just for a few days.

"There wasn't one part of his body that wasn't injured," prosecutors said in court.

Miguel Avalos, 29, was arrested at the northwest Houston apartment he shared with the boy's mother and her four other children. The oldest is 6. Her youngest is a newborn, fathered by Avalos. The other four, including the victim, have a different biological father.

An unidentified witness contacted Houston Police Wednesday, offering photographs of the child's injuries as evidence. Court papers state that when police arrived, he refused to allow them in to see the child. The witness had asked Avalos to take the child to a hospital, but he refused, saying he was putting cream on the scratches and wounds, according to documents.

Avalos has a criminal record dating back 11 years. It includes theft, pot possession, domestic violence, burglary, DWI, and more. The injury to a child charge is the most violent one so far.

Two days after he was arrested, an apartment cleaning crew was tossing the family's possessions out the door. A baby's crib was on the lawn. The mother and children left immediately after his arrest. CPS is now filing for temporary custody of the children.

CPS spokesperson Tiffani Butler said none of the other children showed signs of physical injury.
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