A New York child caregiver was charged with second-degree murder Friday after prosecutors accused him of starving his boyfriend’s 7-year-old son earlier this year.
Leticia Bravo, 39, could face up to 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder of Peter Cocoas, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Bravo was also charged with first- and second-degree murder.
Peter’s father and Bravo’s boyfriend, Arturo Kovacas, were charged last week with criminal negligence, the DA office said.
The statement said that on February 10, Bravo brought Peter’s lifeless body to St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh, New York, where the boy was later pronounced dead. An autopsy by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office found that Peter weighed 37 pounds at the time of his death and had died of malnutrition.
According to the DA’s office, Bravo allegedly locked Peter in a room “behind a door that was locked from the outside.” The prosecution said it was assumed that Peter would stay with Bravo in his apartment in Newburgh every day except Saturday, when Bravo and Peter would stay in their apartment with the Cavacas.
Bravo, who worked as a child care provider, became Peter’s primary caregiver during the school year beginning in September 2020, but there were numerous conversations with Bravo between Peter’s teachers and school representatives. However, the boy has never logged in to virtual schooling since January 2021. .
District Attorney David Howler said it is incomprehensible for someone to take responsibility for the child’s care and then deny the child the basic necessities of life. It is really disturbing how this child was hidden from the school authorities before he died.
Eric Schiller, a lawyer representing Bravo, denied any involvement in the child’s death.
Schiller also said that Bravo – who has three children of his own – is not Peter’s mother, so he is not legally responsible for the child.
Schiller did not respond to questions about allegations that Bravo detained Peter and that the boy died while he was in his care.CNN has reached out to Kovacs for comment.
Bravo was arrested by City of Newburgh police and is being held in Orange County Jail, according to the DA’s office. He will appear in the next court on October 26.