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Hudson Valley Woman Sentenced To 15 Years For Starving Boy To Death

An Orange County woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for starving a 7-year-old boy to death.
An Orange County woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for starving a 7-year-old boy to death. Photo Credit: Pixabay/QuinceCreative

A Hudson Valley woman has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for starving to death a 7-year-old boy in her care.

Orange County resident Leticia Bravo, age 40, of Newburgh, was sentenced on Tuesday, June 21 after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the death of Peter Cucuas.

In addition to the 15 years, Bravo will also serve five years post-release supervision, said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler.

On February 10, 2021, shortly after 8 a.m., Bravo brought Cuacuas’ lifeless body to St. Luke’s Hospital in Newburgh. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the DA's Office said.

An investigation conducted by the City of Newburgh Police Department, aided by the New York State Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, revealed that during the school year Bravo became the primary caretaker of Cuaucas while she was dating his father, Arturo Cuaucas, court records show.

Peter would stay with Bravo at her apartment on William Street in Newburgh every day but Saturday, when Bravo and Peter would stay with his father at Arturo Cuacuas’s apartment, the DA's Office said.

An autopsy conducted by the Orange County Medical Examiner concluded that Peter, who weighed just 37 pounds, had died as a result of malnutrition. 

 It is alleged that Bravo kept Peter locked and secreted in a bedroom behind a door that was locked from the outside, the DA's Office said.

Since January of 2021, Peter never logged on for virtual schooling, despite numerous conversations between Bravo and Peter’s teachers, and other school representatives, they added.

At the time Bravo pled guilty, she admitted to being Peter’s primary caregiver, knowingly under-feeding the 7-year-old, and failing to provide him with medical attention that she knew he required, the DA's office said.

Bravo previously worked as a child-care provider. t the time she pled guilty, she also admitted that she intended on causing physical injury to the boy and that she recklessly created a grave risk of serious physical injury to the boy, which ultimately culminated in his death, they said.

The boy's father, age 54, of Newburgh, pled guilty to the felony of criminally negligent homicide. 

During his plea, Cuacuas admitted that in the months prior to Peter’s death, he would see Peter with Bravo once a week and noted his deteriorating condition and that he failed to take appropriate steps to help him, the DA's Office said.

He was sentenced to one to four years in prison.

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