Hillsboro Woman Sentenced to 151 Months in Prison in Child Torture Case

Washington Co. District Attorney's Office

HILLSBORO, Ore.- On March 6, 2019, Washington County Judge D. Charles Bailey sentenced Merlinda M. Avalos to 151 months in prison. Avalos pleaded guilty to six counts of First-Degree Criminal Mistreatment in January of 2019 based on abuse and neglect toward three young family members. Deputy District Attorney Marie Atwood prosecuted the case against Avalos.

Hillsboro Police began investigating Avalos in April of 2018 after one of the children made disclosures of abuse to a school counselor. Detectives and experts from CARES Northwest interviewed the three children—ages 12, 10 and 9 at the time—and found extensive evidence of ongoing abuse.

Avalos had been caring for the children at the time of the incidents. Investigators found she had abused them in a number of ways. She administered physical beatings, used sleep deprivation as a form of punishment, fed them minimal amounts of food and forced them to use jugs to urinate in rather than giving them access to a proper bathroom.

A school counselor fought back tears as she spoke about the abuse in court. She described the children arriving to school in soiled clothing and the efforts school staff made to address the problem.

After detectives first confronted Avalos with the allegations, an officer spotted Avalos and her husband attempting to destroy evidence at their home. That evidence was later gathered by law enforcement, and corroborated the allegations made by the children.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to acknowledge the Hillsboro Police Department, CARES Northwest and the Oregon Department of Human Services for their work on this case, as well as Hillsboro School District staff who worked diligently to protect the victims and report suspected abuse.

In addition to her prison time, Avalos was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in compensatory fines to the victims, more than $6,000 in restitution and ordered to have no contact with minors other than her own son when she is released. She will also undergo three years of post-prison supervision.

Avalos will be transferred to the Oregon Department of Corrections to begin serving her sentence.



  1. Piece of shit can't wait till she gets to prison 😤


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