The gruesome fate of five-year old Lucio Dupuy at the hands of his mother Magdalena Esposito Valenti and her lover Abigail Páez has shocked the entire country.
The child died at the Hospital Evita in the La Pampa provincial capital of Santa Rosa last month on November 26, but the sickening details of his brutal end only came to light in the course of the last week.
Juan Carlos Toulouse, the forensic expert in charge of the boy's autopsy, said that he "had never seen anything like this" in the 27 years of his career after he had examined the bruised, burned, beaten and bitten body of the small boy, who also suffered internal bleeding. The specialist told Telefe Noticias he could not understand such anger against a child of five.
The two women initially claimed that Luico had suffered an accidental fall during an attempted robbery of their home but both were arrested soon after the boy’s death.
Lucio’s grandmother Silvia Gómez told local news outlets that the child had previously complained of being beaten. She offered the opinion that her ex-daughter-in-law was taking out her hatred of her ex-husband on the kid, whose parents had separated before he was two years old.
Neighbours said that they had alerted both police and court authorities to potential abuse, criticising them for their indifference, as did the boy’s father Cristian Dupuy, who regretted arriving too late at the scene.
“They [the courts] said he was better off with his mother and now we are paying the consequences,” he said.
Lucio Dupuy entered medical centres with injuries at least five times last summer, raising questions about the medical authorities who treated him for not sounding the alarm earlier.
The boy's mother was originally content for him to be living with his grandparents, but then she later decided to battle for his custody, gaining it 15 months ago.
According to local news reports, both the accused were beaten up by other inmates soon after their entry into San Luis penitentiary last Wednesday. They are now being jailed separately from the other inmates for their own safety.