California agency documents show pattern missed — Mother and her boyfriend charged. Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, are now each held on no bail. Aguirre told cops he hit the boy at least 10 times the day of his death for lying and ‘being dirty.’ Sex abuse also alleged.
Shocking just-released official documents show that the day California boy Gabriel Fernandez died — at age 8 — he had a fractured skull, three broken ribs, BB pellets embedded in his chest and groin, cigarette burns on his skin and teeth knocked out of his mouth.
The newly revealed Department of Children and Family Services documents show a broad pattern of horrifying child abuse missed by the system until the Palmdale boy was finally killed last month.
“The red flags were all over the place,” county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky told the Los Angeles Times of the case that has appalled the Southern California community — and the nation. “They were ignored. It is just inexplicable to me.”
Now his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, who allegedly beat the woman’s son over several years, have been charged with torture and murder and are each held on no bail.
Aguirre, the 32-year-old boyfriend, told police he hit Gabriel at least 10 times the day of his death for lying and “being dirty,” the L.A. Times reported.
Most frustrating to friends and family of the boy is that he had to die to get noticed. The DCFS documents show Pearl Fernandez, 29, had a long list of violations over the past decade that should have led years ago to her losing custody of her three young children.
In addition to the physical and emotional abuse, Gabriel reportedly was sexually abused as well.
But the eight “referrals” — despite obvious physical injuries and statements from Gabriel and his siblings alleging the abuse — were deemed unfounded.
Los Angeles County DCFS director Philip Browning admitted the system had failed the boy and that more “critical thinking and common sense” is needed to prevent another such case.
The DCFS and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were both aware of the abuse allegations — but failed to intervene.
Four DCFS social workers are on desk duty as an investigation is underway.
“I feel like they all should be fired,” Elizabeth Carranza, Gabriel’s aunt, told the Times. “They didn’t listen to my nephew. They were completely deaf and blind.”
Teachers, too, saw signs of abuse and reported it. Gabriel had in the past written about contemplating suicide, and teachers saw bruises on his face from being shot by a BB gun.
Gabriel reported being forced to perform oral sex on a relative as well.
“It’s not like ‘oh, he had a bruise here.’ No every day, every week,” a classmate’s mother told KNBC-TV.
The last allegation of abuse was filed April 17.
“No safety threats were identified at this time,” the DCFS safety assessment filed that day reads. “Based on currently available information, there are no children likely to be in immediate danger of serious harm.”
Little more than a month later, Gabriel was dead.