Updates on the investigation into the beating death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy

Couple Accused in Boy's Torture, Death to Face Capital Murder Charges

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre have been charged with capital murder in the beating death of Fernandez's 8-year-old son, Gabriel. Deputies say they found they boy beaten and burned last week in the couple's Palmdale apartment. Protesters lined up outside the courthouse Tuesday, blaming the Department of Child and Family Services for not stopping the alleged abuse. Ted Chen reports from Lancaster for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 28, 2013. (Published Tuesday, May 28, 2013)

    The mother of an 8-year-old boy who died after apparent torture, along with her boyfriend, were charged Tuesday with capital murder in the boy’s death.

    Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 29, and Isauro Aguirre, 32, were taken into custody after 8-year-old Gabriel was found with broken bones, barely breathing, on May 22 at the couple's Palmdale apartment.

    Mother, Boyfriend to Face Charges in Boy’s Death

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    The relatives of a woman and her boyfriend accused in the death of an 8-year-old boy reacted before the pair’s arraignment hearings on Tuesday. Annette Arreola reports from Lancaster for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (Published Tuesday, May 28, 2013)

    He later died in at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, and his injuries suggested torture, county coroner officials said.

    A neighbor described cigarette burns she saw on the boy, pictured below.

    Protesters Demand Change After Boy's Torture Death

    [NATL-V-LA] Protesters Say Palmdale Child Abuse Victim Didn't Have to Die
    When 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez died a violent death last week, some people who knew him were not that surprised. They wondered why child welfare officials allowed him to stay with his mother and her boyfriend. Friends and family peacefully protested outside the Palmdale Sheriff's station Monday, calling for investigation and change. Read the full story here. (Published Tuesday, May 28, 2013)

    Fernandez and Aguirre were each charged with one count of cpaital muder with the special circumstance of torture, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced just after noon on Tuesday.

    Fernandez, the boy’s mother, had earlier been charged with cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury.

    Boy, 8, Dies After Alleged Torture

    [LA] Boy, 8, Dies After Alleged Torture
    The child was found not breathing this week, severely beaten with a fractured skull and burns over his body. His mother and her boyfriend were arrested on suspicion of critically injuring the boy. Beverly White reports from Palmdale for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 24, 2013. (Published Friday, May 24, 2013)

    Aguirre, Fernandez’s boyfriend, was initially arrested on a charge of attempted murder before Gabriel died. He is being held on $1 million bail.

    Both appeared in Antelope Valley Courthouse in Lancaster for a hearing on Tuesday afternoon. Their arraignment was postponed until June 11.

    Prosecutors were expected to ask that the pair be held without bail, the District Attorney's Office stated.

    The boy’s grandfather said in Spanish that he believes his daughter, Fernandez, is responsible for the death. He said the boy had lived with the grandparents until five months ago but Fernandez regained custory, ruining all of their lives.

    Aguirre's family, present at the courthouse, defended him. His mother said he was innocent.

    "He loved those kids. She did it, and everybody knows she did it. Even her family knows she did it," said a cousin of Aguirre who did not want to be identified.

    Protesters were expected at the courthouse. Those who rallied Monday faulted the troubled Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services for failing to respond to the abuse.

    The boy's two siblings were taken into protective custody by the department.

    To report child abuse, call the Department of Child and Family Services at 800-540-4000 or 213-639-4500.

    NBC4's Annette Arreola contributed to this article.

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