Circus promoter couple 'fatally abused son with starvation and dog shock collar'

Police received at least five abuse calls — but could not find evidence that would have saved child

Clark Mindock
New York
Friday 31 May 2019 23:12 BST
A photo taken from a previous police visit to check on the child's welfare
A photo taken from a previous police visit to check on the child's welfare (Manatee County Sheriff's Office)

Two circus promoters from Florida have been accused of chaining their 12-year-old son, starving him, and abusing him with a shock collar in an act that led the the child’s death last week in Indiana.

The couple, 33-year-old Luis Posso and 26-year-old Dayan Median Flores, were charged on Friday with felony neglect of a child.

The child, named Eduardo, died in a local hospital near a motel they were staying in, according to a statement from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Eduardo was Mr Possos son and Ms Flores’s step-son.

Their neighbours in Myakka City reported hearing Mr Possos yelling into the night before the couple took their trip to Indiana, and said Eduardo was scared to even pet friendly dogs in the neighbourhood before he died.

“He would smile at us because he knew he had a friend next door, but he just never trusted me enough to talk to me,” one neighbour, Karen Graham, told the Bradenton Herald. “I wish he would have.”

Police in Indiana said three other children were found in the couple’s care, but all three were completely healthy. They have now been placed in child protective services.

According to reports, authorities in Florida were called at least five times in the past 18 months, but they say they never found proof of the abuse or neglect.

Incident reports show bruises on the child were explained away during those visits as the result of juggling accidents, or from trampoline tricks gone awry.

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At the time of his death, the boy had 0 per cent body fat, and weighed between 50 and 55 pounds.

Detectives found photo evidence of the boy having been chained to the bathtub in the motel. A shock collar believed to have been used to torture the boy was also found.

The couple — who travel around the country to promote circuses — will face murder charges once the coroner can determine an exact cause of death, police say.

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