A panhandler using the image of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez as a way to get donations was spotted earlier after images of the fake fundraiser started circulating on social media.
Gabriel was killed in 2013 after his mother Pearl Sinthia Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre starved and beat him to death at their home in Palmdale. Other gruesome details later emerged during the trial which included Gabriel was shot by bb guns, pepper-sprayed, and often handcuffed.
The man was caught in La Puente asking for money for the funeral of "Jose Mendoza" who he says died of leukemia, but the boy in the picture was Gabriel Fernandez. Several people recognized the boys image and posted pictures to social media, calling out the horrible man who used the child's picture to solicit donations.
Gabriel’s cousin told CBS2 she is "outraged but has seen this type of scheme before in her neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley."
She had the following message for those people like the La Puente man,
"Gabriel suffered a lot during his lifetime. He was buried 5 years ago. Let him rest in peace."
SCAMMERS on Hacienda and Amar— sierra (@sierranchavez) July 19, 2018
They’re using the picture of Gabriel Fernandez who was horribly ABUSED and presenting him as a boy with cancer.
I couldn’t get a good picture because they put their sign down. They know what they’re doing is wrong smh pic.twitter.com/sb7RKmJdHm