Father of 7-Year-Old NY Boy Who Starved to Death Pleads Guilty to Homicide Charge

A nearly 8-month investigation led prosecutors to bring criminal charges against two adults in the "starvation death" of 7-year-old Peter Cuacuas

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A New York father pleaded guilty for his role in the starvation death of his 7-year-old son, who prosecutors alleged was kept locked in a bedroom at least six days a week.

Arturo Cuacuas pleaded guilty to a criminally negligent homicide charge for the death of his son, Peter, who died in Feb. 2021, said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler.

Cuacuas allegedly left Peter in the care of his girlfriend, 39-year-old Letitia Bravo, 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 released grim details on Oct. 8 following an 8-month investigation into Peter's death. Authorities said Bravo had become the boy's primary caretaker sometime after the start of school in September 2020. She allegedly watched after Cuacuas six days a week and kept him locked in a bedroom since January.

"Peter never logged on for virtual schooling, despite numerous conversations between Bravo and Peter’s teachers and other school representatives," a release from the investigators said.

At least one day each week it's believed that the boy's father had custody or would visit with his son. As told by the police and prosecutor, Bravo was responsible for the 7-year-old's deteriorating condition but his father did not appropriately intervene or take steps to help his child.

"Although this father was not Peter’s primary caregiver and did not live in the same residence as Peter, he bears responsibility for Peter’s death for not intervening when it should have become apparent that his son was not receiving appropriate care," said Hoovler. "It is truly disturbing how this child was kept hidden from school authorities before he died. It is likely that had there been no COVID-19 pandemic, the school and social service protocols would have revealed Peter’s deteriorating situation to authorities. Nevertheless, those who were, and chose to be, his caregivers are ultimately to blame.”

Bravo, who prosecutors said had worked as a child-care provider, faces murder and manslaughter charges. She could be sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder charge.

Cuacuas will not be sentenced until the criminal proceedings against Bravo are finished, as he agreed to testify against her at any hearings or trials. He faces up to four years in prison, the maximum allowed for criminally negligent homicide charges. If Cuacuas does not testify truthfully, he could face additional charges.

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