Los Angeles

Attorneys for Boy Allegedly Killed by Parents Speak Out After New Revelations

Attorneys on behalf of a Noah Cuatro's family spoke out following the release of new information about why the boy wasn't removed from the home after a request was made by social workers.

Noah's mother and father are accused of torturing and killing their 4-year-old son. They were arrested last week on murder charges.

In May, Noah's social worker was strongly concerned about the boy's care and filed a court order asking a judge to remove the boy from his parent's custody. The judge approved the order but the removal never happened.

He died two months later.

Ursula Juarez and Jose Cuatro initially told Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies that Noah drowned at a community pool but hospital staff noticed injuries on his body consistent with abuse and not drowning.

"This court order requiring DCFS to have Noah Cuatro examined by a forensic medical and psychological examiner within 72 hours of the court order was not negotiable," said attorney Brian Claypool.

As the I-Team previously reported, five people, including the social worker and a supervisor, agreed not to remove Noah.

DCFS said that its team investigated Noah's case fully including a medical examination in April. The team was still investigating a sexual abuse allegation made by a family member but kept Noah with his parents.

In court earlier this week, prosecutors described fresh injuries to Noah's body, consistent with sexual and physical abuse.

"It's not right what happened to him," said Eva Hernandez, the boy's great grandmother. "He couldn't defend himself. They just threw him to the wolves."

Hernandez has filed a legal claim against the agency.

"As someone who has dedicated their entire career to the safety and well-being of vulnerable children, I cannot overstate how deeply a tragic death impacts those of us who work in child welfare," DCFS director Bobby Cagle said in a statement. "Many of the cases that come to the attention of child protective services have a complicated history and complex family dynamics. Determining when and if to remove a child from his or her home is often a sensitive and difficult decision that involves collaborating with our partners in the County's child protection safety net and gathering and analyzing information from them to help the social worker make an informed decision about the safety of the child at the time.

"We strive each and every day with our partners and colleagues to strengthen the child safety net and do our best to ensure the well-being of the children that we serve."

After Noah's death, DCFS changed its process regarding removal orders.

Social workers now have to go through the director before deciding if a removal order will not be carried out. The social worker in this case also revealed that others in the family were concerned about Noah's well-being, saying he was hungry and constantly needed to be fed.

In the order, the social worker also described him being coached, denied visits to some relatives and unavailable on numerous unannounced visits.

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