Gabriel Fernandez was only 8-years-old when he died on May 24th, 2013. Coroners would later determine that he had suffered a fractured skull, several broken ribs as well as burns all over his body. His mother, Pearl Fernandez and her then-boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, were arrested on murder charges related to her son's death.
However, the tragedy of Gabriel Fernandez goes deeper than that. The case created a maelstrom of controversy for the LA County Department of Children and Family Services after reports that social workers had repeated visited the family's home in Palmdale after allegations of abuse had been raised by Gabriel's teacher. But, the boy was left in his mother's custody.
Today, two of the social workers assigned to Gabriel's case (as well as two supervisors) have been fired from their jobs after an investigation and now, a judge will decide whether or not there's enough evidence to put the social workers on trial for child abuse.
Prosecutors at a preliminary hearing yesterday said the social workers ignored several reports of abuse, as well as having falsified records about Gabriel Fernandez's case.
A Palmdale elementary school teacher testified that she called an abuse hotline several times after Gabriel told her that his mother was beating him with a belt.
All four social workers have been charged with one felony count of child abuse and falsifying records. If convicted, each defendant could face up to 10 years in prison.