A 7-year-old boy from New York State was locked in a bedroom and starved to death by his father's girlfriend while the boy was under her care, authorities said.

The boy's primary caregiver, 39-year-old Leticia Bravo, was charged with second-degree murder and both first and second-degree manslaughter after an autopsy determined that the victim's death was caused by extreme malnutrition, Orange County District Office said in a news release Friday.

Bravo, a professional childcare provider, has been accused of murdering her boyfriend Arturo Cuacuas' son, Peter Cuacuas, in February. A medical examination revealed that the boy weighed just 37 pounds when his lifeless body was brought to a hospital in Newburgh on Feb. 10, 2021.

Bravo became the victim's primary caregiver in September 2020. According to prosecutors, the boy was kept "secreted" inside a locked bedroom without food in the woman's apartment in Newburgh every day except Saturday when Peter and Bravo stayed with his father, Law & Crime reported.

"It is unthinkable that someone would accept the responsibility of caring for a child and then deny that child the basic necessities of life," District Attorney David Hoovler said. "Children are the most innocent and vulnerable of victims. It is truly disturbing how this child was kept hidden from school authorities before he died," Hoovler added.

Peter was kept away from attending online classes since January 2021 even after his teachers and other school administrators contacted Bravo on several occasions.

The investigators also arrested Arturo Cuacuas on charges of criminally negligent homicide for his role in his son's death. Both Arturo and Bravo were held in Orange County Jail and have been scheduled to appear before the court on Oct. 26.

If convicted, Bravo faces 25 years to life in prison while Arturo faces up to four years in state prison.

"Today is about justice for Peter Cuacuas. Our children are our most vulnerable community members. This is a devastating case for our entire community, who I know were frustrated over the past eight months with no arrest being made. This has been a lengthy and emotional case that has affected our department, specifically those involved in the investigation," City of Newburgh Police Commissioner, Jose A. Gomerez, said.

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