Mother of boy shackled, starved in Monroe County said she knew something was wrong: ‘No one will listen’

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MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — The mother of a 12-year-old boy who died in Monroe County is speaking out after investigators revealed there were signs of abuse, restraint and starvation.

Aurea Esmeralda Garcia and her brother, Jorge Omar, show a video of Eduardo Posso cooking in the kitchen and remember him smiling and laughing. Garcia said it was taken during the last visit she had with her son, Eduardo Posso, in 2017. But now, she's learned he's died.

"When the police said, can we walk inside of your house and talk to you? I knew something was wrong because they're not normal to do that," she said.

Police arrested Eduardo's father, Luis Posso Jr., and stepmother, Dayana Medina Flores, on Friday following the death for neglect.

Investigators with the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said they were called to Bloomington Hospital last Friday where Eduardo was pronounced dead. The coroner said he was severely emaciated, weighing only 50-55 pounds with zero percent body fat.

"You try to make sense, because it seems like I’m still sleeping. There’s no way that something like that could be true," Omar said.

Authorities said during a search of the Bloomington motel room where Posso and Flores stayed with Eduardo and his other siblings, they found wrist and ankle restraints, chains and a dog training shock collar. They said they found images on a cell phone of him in restraints with a dog shock collar on his neck in the bathtub. Investigators said both denied withholding food. Posso admitted to some sort of abuse.

"We believe probably within the last year things seemed to have gotten more severe," Monroe County Detective Lt. Jennifer Allen said.

Investigators said they believe the family had recently arrived in Monroe County to promote a circus.

An attorney said in a statement the circus uses advance advertising business as an independent contractor, stating: "The circus via their attorney has reached out to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and have and will continue to offer their full support in providing what limited information they have to assist in this investigation. Again, a tragedy has occurred, and the circus offers its prayer in regard to the same but the circus has had absolutely no contact or business relationship with Luis Posso or Dayan Medina Flores."

"There was some CPS involvement in the state of Florida," Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain said.

Garcia said she thought her son was supposed to be in Florida. She didn't have custody and wasn't able to see or talk to her kids often. She said she believed something was wrong and that she and others tried to sound the alarm in Florida.

"I want to see him. I want to kiss him, however he is, and tell him I’m sorry. I did everything I could, but nothing worked," Garcia said.

A spokesperson for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office said they were called by the school district to investigate a possible child abuse incident. The spokesperson said they had incidents reported to them in November 2017 and November 2018. They investigated and found nothing.

A spokesperson for the school district of Manatee County confirmed Eduardo was withdrawn from the district to be home schooled in December 2018. He attended the district sporadically since 2012.

"No one will listen, and this happens now. Now my son is dead," Garcia said.

So she wants people to listen to make sure this never happens again.

"You don’t even do that to an animal, chain it up like that and abuse it the way he was  abused," Garcia said.

Investigators are still waiting on a cause and manner of death for Eduardo. An initial hearing for Posso and Flores is expected Friday.

Their three other kids were placed in the care of Child Protective Services, and investigators said they appeared to be healthy.

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