Although sheriff’s deputies ignored the massive domestic abuse boy, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was suffering at home
Pearl Fernandez, 32, and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, 36, ‘burned, shot and beat [Gabriel] for over eight months before she finally killed him’
Gabriel Fernandez, died in 2013 after months of abuse, he’d been He’d shot He’d been shot with BB gun and burned, among other injuries
Four social workers facing criminal charges, up to ten years jail time
Fernandez and Aguirre face murder charges
But nine indicted LA deputies won’t face criminal charges, despite facing internal disciplinary procedures in the case
‘Gabriel was ignored by the system and it’s managers, even as he attended school with peeling skin and black eyes. Deputies failed to spot the repeated abuse or further investigate the observations of manifest abuse. These officers have been disciplined, but were neither fired, nor are they being prosecuted’
8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez died in May 2013. Autopsy found he had been horribly abused by his mother and her boyfriend
8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was doused in pepper spray, forced to eat his own feces and vomit, had cigarettes put out on his skin, and was beaten with a bat and shot with a BB gun – just a sample of the inhumane treatment he suffered at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend before they murdered him in 2013, prosecutors say.
Gabriel attended school with peeling skin and black eyes, still sheriff’s deputies failed to spot the repeated abuse or further investigate observations of manifest abuse. The case is now in court, but despite failing to stop the alleged eight-month-long physical abuse inflicted on the little boy who was ultimately beaten to death, nine Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies who failed to take action after the boy’s predicament came to their notice, remain on the beat in the city.
The LA Times reported that four social workers are also being prosecuted because of his death, but the deputies – one of whom allegedly declared that a child being burned with cigarettes was ‘not an emergency’ – are still at work and will not face prosecution for their role in this mind boggling case of official negligence .
Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend face first-degree murder charge, in the death of her son.
Born to a drug addict mother, Gabriel Fernandez had lived with his maternal grandparents since he was a few months old, when his mother, Pearl Fernandez, signed over legal guardianship in a notarized document. Come September 2012,Pearl decided she wanted Gabrierl, now 8, back in her care.
For the 8 months he lived with his mom and her boyfriend in 2013, Gabriel was continuously tortured by Pearl Fernandez, now 32, and Isauro Aguirre, now 36, according to prosecutors.
During that time nine sheriff’s deputies investigated Gabriel’s home and returned a clean bill of health, even as his school teachers fretted about his many injuries, which included black eyes, BB-gun marks on his face and burns on his head.
Isauro Aguirre and his partner Pearl Fernandez face first-degree murder charges in the torture and death of Gabriel Fernandez
However, four social services workers also face charges. And four social workers – Stefanie Rodriguez, Patricia Clement, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt – face one count each of felony child abuse and falsifying public records. They will have a preliminary hearing on the 17th of this month.
Fernandez and Aguirre, who is not Gabriel’s father, both go to trial in March for Gabriel’s death, both charged with murder and a special circumstance of torture..
When Pearl Fernandez requested Gabriel back., her parents, Robert and Sandra Fernandez, fought the claim, saying that she had struggled with drug use and had a history of physically abusing her other children.
But the state sided with Pearl Fernandez, and Gabriel was signed up to a new school, Summerwind Elementary, where teachers quickly began to notice signs of abuse.
On October 30 that year, Gabriel told his teacher, Jennifer Garcia, that he had been struck with a belt buckle, drawing blood.
The 8-year-old boy’s teacher and others repeatedly warned that the boy was being abused but LA sheriff’s deputies didn’t file the reports that would have triggered an investigation
Garcia hen called social services, who assigned his case to one of the four social workers who ultimately did not fight for the child’s rights . Gabriel told her that his admission to his teacher had been a joke.
Sheriff’s deputy Imelda Rizo also investigated, butclaimed she found no sign of abuse. She did not file a report either.
No further investigation will commence unless a report is filed., buthe beatings continued, prosecutors said. By now, Garcia, realizing that her student was still being abused but powerless to do anything, began to lie on his weekly report card, hoping that she could spare him his parents’ fury, according to her testimony.
She also called social workers with each new sign of abuse, she said.
Gabriel was failed by the system, even as he appeared in school with peeling skin and black eyes, no one in authority stood up for his rights and welfare
On January 29, 2013, he returned to school after a week away with bruises all over his face and a swollen eye. He told Garcia that his mom had shot him in the face with a BB gun.
Garcia reported this, but it’s not clear whether sheriff’s deputies investigated.
On February 27, a counselor assigned by social services reported that the eight-year-old boy had written a suicide note.
Deputy Federico Gonzalez who visited the home at 2am in his statement said he was told by the mother’s boyfriend, Aguirre, that the gGabriel was fine. The deputy concluded that Gabriel did not have a specific suicide plan and told the boy’s mother to be vigilant.
He did not see the child, a report said.
Later in 2013 a sheriff’s detective, Vanessa Reddy, investigated a claim that Gabriel had been sexually abused by an uncle. Reportedly, Reddy interviewed Gabriel, but did not interview the uncle, nor did she file the report which was necessary to further the investigation.
On April 26, a security guard at the county employment office called 911 to report seeing Gabriel with burns on his face and head.
Deputy Robin Soukup ‘screamed’ at the guard that a burned child was ‘not an emergency’ according to a motion by the prosecutor.
Deputy Jonathon Livingston then interviewed Gabriel and Aguirre at their home, before logging that the boy had fallen off a bicycle and there was no evidence of abuse.
Again, no report was filed, so no further investigation took place.
‘It is unclear why a child being burned all over his body is not an emergency,’ Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami wrote.
‘It is unclear why a police report was not filed and if the security guard was interviewed by Deputy Livingston.’
In May 2013, Gabriel was photographed for a Mother’s Day project. Those photos, shown to the grand jury, show him with a bloodshot black eye; the skin peeling from his forehead; and what appeared to be bruises on his neck.
Once more, Gabriel said he fell off a bike. Once more Garcia called social services. Once more, nothing happened.
Jason Lee Lasley, a sheriff’s deputy at Summerwind Elementary, was sent to investigate on May 16, after Garcia had not turned up to school for several days.
He testified that he had been given the wrong address so could not find Gabriel’s home, and that when he called Pearl Fernandez she told him the boy had gone to live in Texas.
He concluded his investigation there. He did not file a report. Just under a week later, Gabriel was reported dead
The autopsy however, told a very different story: Gabriel’s skull and pelvis were fractured; he had BB pellets under his skin; his groin had a burn that went all the way through his skin and into the soft tissue.
The medical examiner told the grand jury he had never seen so many skin injuries on a child.