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Escondido man fights for return of son found chained, abused in Mexico

ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- The family of a malnourished 5-year-old boy found in chains at another relative's house in Mexico City are fighting for the child's return to Escondido.

Pascual Castro had left his son, Anthony, with his sister and her husband in Mexico City's Gabriel Hernandez neighborhood while he came to work in the U.S. Castro, who is not a U.S. citizen, was unable to travel to see his son while in the process of regularizing his immigration status, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Two people suspected in the abuse of a 5-year-old boy in Mexico are seen in an image posted to the Mexican Attorney General's website.

Castro told El Universal he had seen videos of his son in February and March, and he thought everything was fine. However, when Anthony was found at the relatives' home late last month, he was starving, injured and had chains wrapped around his legs. Anthony, unlike his father, is a U.S. citizen.

The boy's aunt and her husband were arrested on suspicion of illegal deprivation of liberty for the purpose of causing harm and face up to 60 years in prison if convicted, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Anthony Castro

Now Anthony could either be reunited with his family in the United States or placed in foster care in Mexico City. Marcela Celorio, the Mexican Consul General in San Diego, told The San Diego Union-Tribune that Anthony will most likely be placed in foster care at least temporarily and what ultimately happens depends on the special prosecutor for the rights of children in Mexico City.

Castro has since sought help from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista. Issa has spoken with the State Department and pushed Anthony's case to the highest priority, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Anthony's great-grandmother, Virginia Sanderson of Escondido, is also seeking the boy's return to the United States. However, she told the newspaper that although Castro had custody of Anthony, he should be reunited with her granddaughter, the boy's mother Dawn Sanderson, who was now able to care for him.

Virginia Sanderson cares for her granddaughter's other children, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.