The woman who was responsible for taking care of a 7-year-old boy before he starved to death in a locked bedroom was sentenced to 15 years in prison for her role in his killing, the district attorney announced.
After pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in March, 40-year-old Leticia Bravo was handed down her punishment for the death of Peter Cuacuas on Tuesday, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said. The prison sentence comes just over four months after the child's father, Arturo Cuacuas, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide.
Cuacuas had allegedly left Peter in the care of Bravo, his girlfriend, when she brought "lifeless" Peter to Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital in Newburgh back on Feb. 10, 2021. The young boy weighed only 37 pounds and he had died of starvation, the Orange County medical examiner found.
Investigators previously released grim details late in 2021 following an 8-month investigation into the boy's death. Authorities said Bravo had become Peter's primary caretaker sometime after the start of school in September 2020. She allegedly watched after Cuacuas six days a week at her apartment on William Street in Newburgh.
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Prosecutors said Bravo kept him in a bedroom behind a door that locked from the outside since January 2021. The boy was allegedly kept in that room at least six days a week, with Saturday being the only day he was allowed out, as he and Bravo stayed at his father's apartment.
Peter never logged on for virtual schooling, despite numerous conversations between Bravo and Peter’s teachers and other school representatives, according to the DA.
Peter's father admitted that in the months leading up to his son's death, he noticed his deteriorating condition, but failed to take the steps to help him. Arturo Cuacuas previously pleaded guilty to a criminally negligent homicide charge for the death of Peter.
"There is no more innocent victim than a child," said Hoovler. "The facts and circumstances of this case are unimaginable, and the community collectively grieves the loss of Peter Cuacuas. No one deserves the type of depraved mistreatment the victim in this case suffered."
Bravo initially faced 25 years to life in prison when she faced murder and manslaughter charges.
Now that the criminal proceedings against Bravo are finished, Arturo Cuacuas will face sentencing, as he agreed to testify against her. He faces up to four years in prison, the maximum allowed for criminally negligent homicide charges.