Gabriel Fernandez
February 21, 2005 - May 24, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial

My heart ACHES, literally ACHES for the day when I will not have to report any further child abuse related deaths and the ache is even stronger for the day when parents will STOP allowing the abuse these children suffer. Many people believe that Gabriel Hernandez, a little boy who lived in California, could have been saved from the horrible abuse and eventual death that was given to him at the hands of the woman who gave birth to him and her boyfriend. Gabriel's teacher, Jennifer Garcia, said that she had social workers on speed dial and had called many times to report the abuse this little Angel had been suffering since the previous October when Gabriel had confided in her that his mother was hitting him with a belt until he would bleed and he wondered if this was a normal thing:

"It could have been prevented a long time ago. They could have removed him from the home.
I called the
social worker several times after that incident. All the things on him were visible,
it was strange haircuts
with scratches underneath, his ear would be bleeding, he would have
what looked like cigarette burns on his
face. There was a time when he told me they shot him
in the face with a BB gun and he had circular bruise
dots and that was reported. I even told
the social worker, "He's scared to go home. He doesn't want to report,
because the  more he
reports, the more you go out there, and the more he gets in trouble". She made him
girl clothes once to school and she said it was to embarrass him. We gave him a shirt to
put over what
looked like his sister's tight little pink girls shirt. So it was blatant abuse that
just was allow to go on"

Gabriel had been raised by his grandparents almost from the time Pearl Hernandez had given birth to him. Pearl had been living with her parents and due to some family trouble, she moved out, according to Robert Hernandez, her father. One day Pearl came to get Gabriel saying she was taking him to a BBQ and when she returned, she had a Sheriff with her who said that since Pearl was Gabriel's mother, she had all rights to him.  It didn't take long for neighbors to start making calls to report the abuse Gabriel was going through, but the Department Of Children And Family Services did nothing to protect him:

"I'm very very angry that it had to come to this point. It was an abuse, now it's a homicide"
Robert Hernandez


Robert was going to fight for the rights to bury his grandson. Pearl's cousin, Emily Carranza stated that she was unaware of the abuse Gabriel was going through until it was on the news:

"The cigarette burns, the bruises, the broken ribs, the fractured skull, I was told that
his teeth were
knocked out"

Pearl Hernandez, who was 29 years old at the time and Isauro Aguirre, who was 32 years old at the time, were arrested and charged with one count of murder with a special circumstance for torturing, beating and murdering Gabriel, who was only eight years old. Isauro said that he beat Gabriel for lying and for being dirty.

Arraignment for the couple was postponed in their very first court appearance where a Judge ordered them both held without bail which prompted the courtroom full of people to begin clapping loudly.

On May 22, 2013, Gabriel was taken to the hospital where he was found to have burns, bruises, a cracked skull and cracked ribs from the beating he was given while Pearl, who admitted to being there as well as watching the abuse, allowed her boyfriend, Isauro, to beat him. Gabriel died two days later:

"A sweet little innocent child took that abuse and torture for so long. It angers me inside and it's
nothing I can do about it. All I can do is just show up here for support cause I don't want a situation
like this to be swept under the rug:
Victoria Bishop

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, where's the village? Where are the protectors of the this baby?
Shari Martin

It was later revealed that along with CPS, the Palmdale Sheriff's station had been called on at least three different occasions about the abuse Gabriel was going through. Michael Antonovich, the County Supervisor was launching an
investigation into how this case was handled.

Bail was eventually set at $1 million dollars each for Pearl and Isauro.

A crowd of over 75 people, family and friends of Gabriel as well as his teacher, protested in front of the Palmdale Police Station to bring awareness to what had happened to him.

Jennifer Garcia - Gabriel's teacher

The last report about the abuse Gabriel was suffering was made on April 17, 2013. At that time, DCFS decided that Gabriel was safe and "No safety threats were identified" and they stated that based on that current information, no children were in serious danger.

In July of 2103 it was decided that two social workers and two supervisors would be fired for their part in the investigation of abuse allegations involving Gabriel, warnings or letters of reprimand were issued to three other employees of the Department of Child And Family Services:

"It is vital that those working in the child protection system remain vigilant to ensure the safety
and well being of those in the country's care"
Michael Antonovich

In January of 2014, it was reported that Gabriel's grandparents filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Allegations were made that the man who should have filed a complaint and could possibly have saved Gabriel, called Pearl and asked her out on a date:

"He was more concerned or interested in the mother than the welfare of Gabriel. We'd like to think
that if he had made a report that might have changed the outcome. However, lots of people made
reports after that and none of those reports were apparently acted on"

John Noland - Lawyer for Robert and Sandra Hernandez - Gabriel's Grandparents

Checking for updates on June 9, 2014, I have found nothing new.

UPDATE: March 2, 2016 Thank you Amy for this update.

In July of 2015, it was reported that Los Angeles Country prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Sinthia Fernandez, who was 31 years old and Isauro Aguirre who was 35 years old. The couple has been charged with capital murder for the death of Gabriel. Sinthia was not in the courtroom and no explanation for her absence was given, while Isauro was present and had previously turned down a plea deal of life in prison without parole with no appeals available to him. Isauro said nothing in court.

District Attorney, Jon Hatami was in court and was the one who announced that they would seek the death penalty. Paula Pedraza said:

"I'm happy, I just wish that he would have plead guilty or taken the
plea deal so that we didn't have to go through this whole thing. I'm
pretty sure that more horrific evidence is going to come out and it's
just terrible"

Paula along with Nancy Prieto, has a Facebook page in memory of Gabriel, seeking justice for him:

"This could be your neighbor, this could be your own family. I just want an end
to child abuse, but we must prevent it as much as possible"
Nancy Prieto

Neither of these two women is related to Gabriel, though they show up in court to be a voice for him and other children who are being abused. While I can sympathize with their feelings, allowing someone to make a plea to a lesser charge just to avoid a lengthy trial is never a good idea in my own opinion.

Sinthis and Isauro would be due to be back in court two weeks later, both have plead not guilty.

Later that same month, graphic images were released by the judge in the case even though both defense lawyers had petitioned the court not to release the information:

"This will show part of the full extent Gabriel went through.
Gabriel didn't receive any support, in our eyes, when he was
alive and after death, he should"

Amanda Nevarez - Gabriel's Justice

"I did not know the family, but this case really affected me"
Lilia Ozuna - Gabriel's Justice

A Forensic Nurse testified that the injuries on Gabriel's body were those typically seen on the body of an eight year old child. A teacher had reported seeing bruises as well as BB gun pellets in Gabriel's face and notes that were written by Gabriel about how he wanted to kill himself were also admitted into evidence.

Documents submitted to the court showed that several agencies had been checking into allegations of physical and sexual abuse against Gabriel. Sadly, Gabriel was never removed from the home, he was left to endure whatever these monsters felt like heaping on to him.

Gabriel's case has lead to some changes being made including a new Office Of Child Protection and reform in the Los Angeles County Child Welfare system. One Supervisor who was fired has filed an appeal and it is possible that he may be getting his job back, in all, four Social Workers lost their job.

Back To Gabriel's Story
Read About A Memorial For Gabriel

This page was created on January 28, 2014
Death occurred in the state of California

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