Circus promoters accused of shackling, starving son to death now face murder charges
MONROE COUNTY, Ind. – The father and stepmother of a boy who was allegedly restrained in a motel bathtub and starved to death are now being charged with his murder.
Luis Posso Jr. and Dayana Medina-Flores are also being charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent, criminal confinement, and battery resulting in bodily injury to a person under 14. They both made their first court appearance in Monroe County Friday.
Posso and Medina-Flores were arrested on neglect charges last week after 12-year-old Eduardo Posso died at IU Health Bloomington Hospital. According to a probable cause affidavit, Eduardo was brought unconscious to the hospital by his father at about 2:52 a.m. on May 24 and was pronounced dead at 3:05 a.m.
“Eduardo was found to be severely emaciated by hospital staff and had multiple bruises, lacerations, and ulcers all over his body in various stages of healing,” the affidavit says.
An autopsy found the boy’s body displayed many signs of starvation, neglect and physical abuse. The coroner said he was severely emaciated, weighing only 50-55 pounds with zero percent body fat.
When asked what happened, Posso initially told officers Eduardo fell in the shower the day before and sustained a bump on the back of his head that bled. He said he cleaned the wound, but was awakened by the boy struggling to breathe shortly before being transported to the hospital, the affidavit says.
While speaking with Posso, detectives say he admitted to spanking Eduardo on multiple occasions with a leather belt, his hand and a flip flop. The affidavit says he couldn’t explain how he became so emaciated and denied withholding food from him.
Authorities said during a search of the Bloomington motel room where Posso and Medina-Flores stayed with Eduardo and his other siblings, they found wrist and ankle restraints, chains and a dog training shock collar under a box spring.
Court documents say officers also found a surveillance camera and video that showed Eduardo lying in a bathtub with his hands and feet bound. Family members can reportedly be seen in the video walking into the bathroom and ignoring the boy.
“He was chained to the washcloth bar in the bathtub, and had the electric dog shock collar affixed to his neck,” the affidavit says.
While searching Posso’s phone, detectives say they found a message in Spanish that translated to “Eduardo was almost out of the chains.”
Investigators said they believe the family had recently arrived in Monroe County to promote a circus. Medina-Flores told officers she and Posso would usually take Eduardo with them as they distributed advertisements, but would occasionally leave him chained or tied in the bathroom. She also said they would use the wireless camera to watch him while they were working.
The couple’s three other children, a 9-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy, and a 2-year-old boy, have been placed in the care of Child Protection Services. Officials say they appeared to be healthy.
When Eduardo’s siblings were interviewed by child advocates, one child said her brother had stopped eating, which he was punished for. She also said that in the last few days, he told her he just wanted to “juggle and be free,” court documents say.
Another sibling didn’t initially acknowledge Eduardo as a sibling and didn’t include him in a stick figure portrait of the family, according to the affidavit. When asked who Eduardo was, he reportedly said he was “bad and not part of the family.”
Posso and Medina-Flores remain in protective segregation at the Monroe County Correctional Center. Bond has been revoked for both. The sheriff’s office says Medina-Flores is a Mexican national and also has an ICE detainer.