Andrew Ibarra
August 1998 - July 19, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial

Cynthia Marie Jackson, who was 29 years old at the time, was trusted to take care of at least eight foster
children. That trust would be shattered when she would end up killing one of those children. Many of the children that Cynthia was trusted to take care of, were found to be battered and starved, malnourished and having broken bones. One of the children in her care died from injuries given to him by Cynthia and it was reported that she had tortured him to death.

Andrew was found to have injuries that included a fractured rib, punctured stomach wall as well as swelling in his brain and the county Pathologist said that he had died from the combination of these injuries which is called fatal child abuse syndrome.

In December of 2003, Cynthia was found guilty of murder for what she did to Andrew and guilty of endangering seven other children. Some of the counts were felony counts and some were misdemeanors. Jurors found that Michael Hestrin, the Prosecutor was right when he said that Andrew had died from the injuries that Cynthia had given him and that since it had been torture, that meant it was first degree murder:

"Andrew Ibarra was tortured because the boy suffered extreme, prolonged pain"

Peter Scalisi, Co Defense Lawyer didn't agree:

"I don't think the government can prove who actually killed Andrew Ibarra"

Peter Scalisi was trying to say that Cynthia's husband, Jeffrey, who was the only witness for the defense, was the one who had killed Andrew. Peter also said that if Cynthia had been the one to kill Andrew, it would have only been involuntary manslaughter. The Prosecutor stated that there wasn't any evidence that Cynthia was not the one to hurt this child. Cynthia had claimed that Andrew had fallen off of the slide in the park where she had taken the children to play the day before he died. Jeffrey testified that none of them had even gone to the park that day. Dr Joseph Cohen testified that during the autopsy he performed, the injuries he saw, could not have been caused by a fall from the slide.

Superior Court Judge Vilia Sherman was to decide on a sentence that would be given in December. Cynthia
could receive life in prison.

Andrew had become a ward of the state and had been taken from his mother and placed in the home of Cynthia and Jeffrey Jackson. Estrella Ibarra claimed that Child Protective Services had been aware that Cynthia had been investigate for child abuse allegations in the past.

Nine year old James Donovan testified that he and his brother Tyler had lived with Cynthia in 1991. Tyler had
hurt his leg at some point, falling down the stairs when asked how he fell, James answered:

"She pushed him. She pushed him on the back"

A six year old boy, Andrew Haley, testified that he knew Cynthia Marie Jackson since she had been his foster mother. Andrew knew that he had broken his arm while living with her, he just didn't remember how though his stepmother, Crystal Brooks, knew exactly how:

"He told me that Cynthia grabbed his arm and she threw him down"

James and Tyler had been removed from the home in 1999 and Andrew in 2000, yet Cynthia was still able to accept more foster children and only four months later, Andrew Ibarra would be dead. Andrew was not the only foster child in the home at the time and two more children, brothers, were dehydrated and possibly malnourished when police arrived after Andrew Ibarra's death.


Estrella sued for 15 million dollars and was given a much smaller settlement, according to her lawyer, Jack Anthony. Two other children, who were brothers and who were also represented by Jack Anthony and had been abused, also sued and won a settlement which would give them money every month until they reach the age of 30 and then they would each receive a lump some of money.

Social Services sited a breakdown in communication as being the reason these children had been placed in
this home after other children had been removed due to abuse. Cynthia had been able to hold on to her license which allowed her to be a foster parent, until the day Andrew died. Of course NOW there is a new plan in place for communications that is supposed to stop things like Andrew's death from happening.

UPDATE:

In November of 2003 Superior Court Judge Villa Sherman sentenced Cynthia Marie Jackson to life in prison, but not before he said a few things to CPS:

"It seems to me this was essentially Theresienstadt for children. That's when CPS went and
looked, the house was clean and tidy and so forth. It was a model. But as soon as their backs
were turned, it was something quite different. I think Child Protective Services has to share
some of the responsibility but that doesn't mitigate the defendant's responsibility"

Death occurred in the state of California

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