A 10-year-old boy who authorities say was tortured and sexually assaulted by his aunt was released from a hospital Tuesday and placed with a foster family.
Bob Griffith, deputy director of the Orange County Social Services Agency, said the boy's medical needs and publicity surrounding the case discouraged many potential foster parents. Griffith said the boy will remain with this foster family until authorities determine who will get custody.
"We have found a home for him with experienced foster parents who have dealt with medically involved kids in the past," Griffith said.
Griffith said the boy's whereabouts will remain confidential; relatives will not be told, but off-site visits may be arranged.
Cynthia Medina, 31, faces charges of abusing and torturing the boy. The case is the county's first in which a defendant has been charged with torture. Her husband, Edward Medina, 45, faces charges of failing to stop the abuse.
Authorities say Cynthia Medina punished the boy for playing with her marijuana cigarettes by burning his tongue, whipping him with electrical cords and sodomizing him with a souvenir baseball bat, causing severe internal injuries.
The boy was living with his maternal aunt because his mother could no longer care for him. The boy's father and maternal grandmother say they intend to seek custody.
Cynthia Medina admits abusing the boy but says the sexual assault was a "freak accident," according to attorney Richard C. Gilbert. Gilbert said he also questions whether authorities have exaggerated claims about the boy's injuries. He said medical records he received show no signs the boy was treated for burns to the tongue.
But prosecutor Charles Middleton dismissed such claims, saying the boy's injuries were "horrific."