La Puente

La Puente Family Settles $18M Lawsuit With District After Special Needs Child Dies

"So no, money doesn’t bring everyone together, it doesn’t bring happiness, it doesn’t bring closure. No it doesn’t," the family of late 8-year-old Moises Murillo said.

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A La Puente family mourning the accidental death of 8-year-old Moises Murillo settled a multimillion dollar lawsuit with the school district, the family announced Wednesday.

The $18 million lawsuit was settled with the Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District. 

"He was always happy. He would always make everybody happy," Lizbeth Murillo, the boy's sister, said.

"My brother did mean everything to us. Until this day, my mom might look like she’s OK, that she’s fine, but she’s not," Lizbeth Murillo said.

On May 31, 2017, Moises took the bus to Sunset Elementary for day 2 of summer school.

He was sitting in his specialized adaptive stroller that he used because he lived with a severe form of Down syndrome and was unable to walk.

At some point, his teachers -- wanting him to play at a desk -- removed Moises from his wheelchair and strapped him into a regular school chair.


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"They put him in this predicament and then they proceeded to turn their back on him leaving him alone and without any supervision whatsoever," family attorney Steve Vartazarian said.

Vartazarian says Moises was playing when he suddenly knocked himself backwards. His head hit the classroom floor, severely injuring his spinal cord.

He died from his injuries several days later. 

"We fought for years to get some answers about what happened and this district will not answer any questions about it. Instead they tried to sweep in under the rug like nothing happened," Vartazarian said.

NBCLA reached out to Hacienda-La Puente Unified for a comment and have not received a response.

The district settled with Moises' family one week before they were set to go to trial over his death.

The settlement does not include an admission of fault, but Moises' family wants to make sure this never happens again.

"The question to the school district will be, 'are you going to do anything different as a result of this tragedy here at the school?'" Vartazarian said.

"So no, money doesn’t bring everyone together, it doesn’t bring happiness, it doesn’t bring closure. No it doesn’t," Lizbeth said.

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