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

Boy's Torture Death "Disgrace to Nation"

Gabriel Fernandez died May 24 after suffering from multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, several broken ribs and burns.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Protesters gathered outside the headquarters of LA County's Department of Child and Family Services on Friday to call for changes following the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale. There is hope that a state audit of the DCFS will lead to reform. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Mid-Wilshire for the NBC4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. on June 21, 2013. (Published Friday, Jun 21, 2013)

    A rally was held on Friday in memory of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, a Palmdale boy who was beaten to death, allegedly by his mother's boyfriend as she stood by.

    Protesters used the case as a rallying cry for the failures of the child welfare system because his family was being monitored by the agency and failed to act on prior reports of abuse.

    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)

    "The neighbors of this little child who witnessed this said they watched the social workers come and five minutes they watched the social workers walk out," said Tammi Stefano of the National Safe Child Coalition as protesters picketed outside the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services' LA office. "This is a disgrace to our nation."

    Gabriel died May 24 after suffering from multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, several broken ribs and burns, officials said. He had BB gun pellets in his chest and groin, documents said. The boy's mother told a deputy that his bruises were from self-mutilation, documents said.

    Tortured Boy's Case Well Known to Case Workers

    [LA] Tortured Boy's Case Well Known to Case Workers
    Gabriel Fernandez, 8, died after apparently being tortured at a Palmdale home. His case was well known to county case workers before his mother and her boyfriend were charged in his killing. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on May 31, 2013. (Published Thursday, Jun 6, 2013)

    His mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 29, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 33, were charged with one count each of capital murder and a special circumstance allegation of torture, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

    Both were in jail without bail. Pearl Fernandez has a July 2 court hearing, according to the LA County Sheriff’s Department’s Inmate Information Center. A court date for Aguirre was set for Aug. 13.

    Boy's Torture Death Detailed in New Documents

    [LA] Boy's Torture Death Detailed in New Documents
    Gabriel Fernandez, 8, was found unresponsive in his Palmdale home three weeks ago. LA County Sheriff's deputies say his mother’s boyfriend admitted to beating him to death. New documents obtained Wednesday reveal more information about a history of reported abuse inflicted on the boy. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Sylmar for the NBC4 News at 4:30 p.m. on June 12, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013)

    Child protective case workers responded to the home at least eight times after repeated abuse reports, according to several people who knew the child and from department documents obtained by NBC4.

    Their visit before his death was for an allegation of sexual abuse, documents said.

    Friends and Family Remember Palmdale Boy at Memorial

    [LA] Friends and Family Remember Palmdale Boy at Memorial
    Mourners joined together in Sylmar to remember 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. He was allegedly beaten to death three weeks ago by his mother’s boyfriend. New court documents released by the DCFS revealed a history of physical abuse and neglect. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Sylmar for the NBC4 News on June 12, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013)

    The case prompted supervisors for LA County to call for a task force to recommend reforms in the troubled department.

    California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Hesperia, called for a state audit of the department.

    Grandfather of Tortured Boy Gives Emotional Farewell

    [LA] Grandfather of Tortured Boy Gives Emotional Farewell
    Family, friends and strangers gathered in Sylmar Wednesday night for an emotional farewell to 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. The boy's mother and her boyfriend allegedly admitted to fatally torturing him, authorities say. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 12, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013)

    Boy's Death "Keeps Me Up at Night": Head of DCFS

    [LA] Boy's Death "Keeps Me Up at Night": Head of DCFS
    After the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, the head of the Department of Child and Family Services admitted that his staff mishandled the case. The boy’s mother and her boyfriend are charged with beating the child to death. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Mid-Wilshire for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 20, 2013. (Published Friday, Jun 21, 2013)

    "You can't exercise this much power and hide behind a shroud of secrecy," Donnelly said.

    In Gabriel's case, the pattern of abuse should have been noticed, Donnelly said.

    "This was something that was a no-brainer," Donnelly said. "Any rational person would take Gabriel away from his parents."

     

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