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Meridian 9-year-old in abuse case laid to rest in California

Some mourners dressed up as superheroes or Transformers to honor Emrik Osuna, while others carried flowers and white balloons.
Credit: Irene Zepeda

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Mourners gathered Wednesday to see the little boy investigators say died after months of physical abuse and starvation laid to rest.

The funeral of 9-year-old Emrik Osuna was held in Santa Ana, California, where some of the boy's relatives live. 

Emrik's father and step-mother, Erik and Monique Osuna of Meridian, remain jailed on $1 million bonds each. Monique Osuna, who prosecutors say kicked and beat Emrik, locked him in a closet and withheld food, is charged with first-degree murder in his death. 

RELATED: 'Bruises all over his body': Meridian boy was beaten, starved, locked in closet before death, prosecutor says

The child's father is charged with felony injury to a child and infliction of great bodily harm, as well as a misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. Prosecutors say Erik Osuna knew his wife was mistreating the 9-year-old but did not intervene, and tried to hide evidence of Emrik's abuse from police. 

Credit: Courtesy of Marie Osuna
Emrik Osuna

Emrik was born and spent the earlier part of his life in California, where his aunts, uncles and cousins remain. He was sent to Idaho to live with his father after his biological mother was sentenced to prison for abusing his younger siblings.

Family members had been seeking the return of his remains from Idaho, but were required to wait until the forensic investigation into his death was complete.

RELATED: 'He just needed love:' Relatives grieve for Meridian 9-year-old at center of deadly abuse case

Some of those in attendance dressed up as superheroes or members of the Transformers to honor the 9-year-old; others carried flowers and white balloons. The mourners also released doves as they stood next to Emrik's gleaming white casket.

A table set up at the Fairhaven Memorial Park where he was buried held framed photos of Emrik playing on a swingset and grinning widely from beneath a winter hat. The pictures were surrounded by some of the things the boy loved - dinosaurs, ninjas, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Relatives of the child have expressed shock and heartbreak over the circumstances of his death. A medical examiner wrote that Emrik's body was covered in bruises and that he was badly dehydrated and malnourished. 

Credit: Irene Zepeda

RELATED: 'I feel guilty for not being there for him': Meridian boy's aunt speaks about his death

According to prosecutors, Erik Osuna confessed that his son had been given nothing but rice and water in the final weeks of his life. Investigators also allege that both Monique and Erik Osuna knew that Emrik was seriously injured the day he died, but waited for hours to call for help or take him to a hospital.

By the time paramedics arrived at the apartment where the boy lived, he had no pulse, police say. 

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for Oct. 1.