TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA/WISH) – Two circus promoters are accused of chaining their son to a motel bathtub and watching him die a slow, painful death.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office was called to a hospital in Bloomington, Indiana to investigate the death of 12-year-old Eduardo Posso.
Detectives say Posso was in Indiana with his father, Luis Posso and stepmother, Dayana Marina Flores, while they promoted a circus that opens next month.
Their other children, ages 9, 5 and 2 helped the couple pass out flyers, but Eduardo was left chained to the bathtub in the hotel room, without food.
On Friday, Eduardo stopped breathing and his father took him to Bloomington Hospital. He died shortly after.
According to the coroner, Eduardo was severely malnourished with zero percent body fat.
A search of the motel room turned up restraints used on the young boy and a webcam tied to the towel bar, which the couple allegedly used to watch the boy as his health deteriorated, authorities said.
Detectives also found cell phone pictures and videos of the boy in shackles, according to the report.
“I cannot think of, in 30 years, a case like this,” said Monroe County Sheriff Brad Swain. “It’s beyond anything I’ve worked.”
Posso and Flores allegedly told investigators they abused the child because he “acted up more than the other kids.”
The couple was arrested on felony child neglect, battery and confinement charges. Murder charges are expected to follow once the coroner gives an official cause of death.
The two were working as promoters for Cirque Italia, a Manatee County-based circus that has upcoming performances in Bloomington, Indiana.
The CEO of Cirque Italia tells News Channel 8 he is horrified by the crime. He stresses they are third-party contractors and are not directly connected to his circus.
Cirque Italia released a statement saying in part-
The advance advertising business is located in Florida but has no direct connection with this circus and indeed does advertising for numerous other businesses.
The advance advertising business has a strict requirement to do background searches of all independent contractors that they hire to provide advertising materials on behalf of their company. Again, the individuals that work for the advance advertising business are independent contractors to the advance advertising business. The individuals involved in this situation have never had any direct employment, contact or business relationship with the circus. Indeed, they are independent contractors to a business which is also an independent contractor to the circus.
The circus via their attorney has reached out to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and have and will continue to offer their full support in providing what limited information they have to assist in this investigation. Again, a tragedy has occurred, and the circus offers its prayers in regard to the same but the circus has had absolutely no contact or business relationship with either Luis Posso or [Dayana] Median Flores.