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Long before 10-year-old Anthony Avalos died on Thursday with severe head injuries and cigarette burns covering his body, law enforcement officers and child protective caseworkers documented years of severe abuse allegations, according to sources familiar with the case history.

The sources, who spoke on the condition on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, said that despite the history, the boy was never permanently removed from the home.

School administrators, a teacher, a counselor, family members and others called police or the child abuse hotline at least 16 times since 2013 to report child abuse in the family’s Lancaster home, according to sources who reviewed county documents in the case.

The callers said Anthony or his six siblings were denied food and water, sexually abused, beaten and bruised, dangled upside-down from a staircase, forced to crouch for hours, locked in small spaces with no access to the bathroom, forced to fight each other, and forced to eat from the trash, the sources said.

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