PALMDALE – A Palmdale mother and her boyfriend were arrested Thursday, after the woman’s young son was hospitalized with broken bones, burns and bruises throughout his body, authorities said.
Pearl Fernandez, 29, was arrested for felony child endangerment and child abuse, while her boyfriend, 32-year-old Isauro Aguirre was arrested for attempted murder, according to Sergeant Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.
Deputies responded to the couple’s apartment around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night after they received a call from fire department paramedics about possible child abuse, Hudson said.
Fernandez’s 8-year-old son was battered and not breathing when authorities arrived; he had ligature marks on his ankles, burns on his body, and several other injuries, Hudson said.
The boy was rushed to Antelope Valley Hospital and then transferred to a children’s hospital in Los Angeles, where he was still in critical condition as of Thursday afternoon.
“He has a skull fracture, he has several broken ribs, and just bruising about his entire body,” Hudson said.
Detectives were investigating Thursday at the apartment complex where the couple lived with the boy and his older sister and brother in the 200 Block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale.
A few neighbors said they heard scary screams and wails coming from the family’s three-bedroom upstairs apartment late Wednesday night, and one woman in an adjacent apartment building said she heard banging sounds.
A neighbor who spoke to detectives said she and several other residents at the complex suspected that something was wrong with the little boy for months.
“Everybody noticed, because he would come out to take out the trash and wouldn’t talk to nobody,” said Claudia Segoviano, whose apartment sits directly across the stairwell from the family.
Segoviano said the little boy seldom left the house, and she did not believe the boy even attended school.
She said she noticed greenish bruises on the little boy’s face, arms and legs many times when she saw him taking out the trash.
“I wanted to report it, but then when I would want to, I would always see a social worker, so I thought, ‘how can I report it if there’s already somebody involved in it?’” Segoviano said. “And I saw like one time the cops came when he was all messed up, and they left. [The boy] stayed there and they left.”
On a couple of occasions, Segoviano said she saw the young boy dressed in girls’ clothing.
“I saw him dressed up in a girl’s dress two times, my mom said she saw him three times,” Segoviano said, adding that the boy was also dressed in girls’ shoes. She said she witnessed Fernandez ordering her son down the stairs while he was dressed as a girl.
“He was sad, you could tell, like nobody likes to be dressed as the opposite sex,” Segoviano said. “I asked my brother, ‘what happened to him?’ and my little brother said that was a form of punishment,” Segoviano added.
“I heard that same thing, but I cannot confirm that occurred,” Hudson said.
Authorities obtained a search warrant for the family’s apartment Thursday morning and detectives could be seen removing dresses from the apartment, while animal control officers removed a crate of cats.
“We found items of evidentiary value that will assist with the case,” Hudson said. “There was nothing extraordinary about the condition of the apartment.”
The boy’s two older siblings, ages 10 and 12, were taken into protective custody, Hudson said. Authorities are still investigating whether the older siblings were abused as well.
UPDATE 5/23/13: The Sheriff’s Department has issued a press release regarding this incident. Read the full press release below:
“Detectives from the Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau are investigating the attempted murder of an eight year-old child that occurred on Wednesday May 22, 2013.
Los Angeles County Fire personnel responded to the victim’s residence at approximately 11 p.m. regarding a child not breathing call. When they arrived they found the victim with numerous injuries which were indicative of child abuse. The child was treated on scene and transported to a local hospital, and subsequently transferred to a hospital in the Los Angeles area. The child is hospitalized with severe injuries including a skull fracture, several broken ribs, several burns to his body, and is in critical condition.
During an interview with detectives, the boyfriend of the child’s mother, Suspect Isauro Aguirre admitted to causing the injuries to the victim. The child’s mother admitted to being present during the assault and did not intervene on behalf of the victim.
Suspect Aguirre was arrested and booked at Lancaster Sheriff’s Station for Attempted Murder. His bail is set at one million dollars.
Suspect Fernandez was arrested and booked at Palmdale Sheriff’s Station for Child Abuse. Her bail is set at $100,000.
Both suspects are residents of Palmdale.
There were two other children in the residence that have been taken into protective custody by the Department of Children and Family Services.”
UPDATED 5/24/13 @ 3:30 p.m. — The 8-year-old boy has died, the Los Angeles County Coroners office confirmed just minutes ago. No further information about his time of death was immediately available. We will update this story as soon as that information becomes available.
UPDATED 5/25/13 – DEATH INVESTIGATION OF 8-YEAR-OLD BOY
Upon the death of the 8-year-old boy on Friday, the case is now being investigated by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. According to the latest press release issued by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau:
“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives responded to an area hospital to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of an eight-year-old boy.
The death of the child is allegedly the result of an incident which occurred Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10, Palmdale. The child was transported to a hospital in Los Feliz, where he succumbed to his injuries on Friday, May 24. As a result, the case is now being investigated as a homicide.
The child’s mother, Suspect Pearl Fernandez, was arrested Thursday, May 23, 2013, for the charge of Cruelty to A Child Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury. Fernandez was booked at Palmdale Sheriff’s Station in lieu of $100,000 bail.
The boyfriend of the child’s mother, Suspect Isauro Aguirre, was arrested Wednesday, May 23, 2013, for the charge of Attempted Murder. Aguirre was booke at Lancaster Sheriff’s Station in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.
The case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney on Tuesday, May 28, 2013.
This case was initially investigated by the Special Victims Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Upon the death of the child, the case is now being investigated by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.”
UPDATED 5/25/13: JUSTICE FOR GABRIEL
Loved ones have set up a facebook page in honor of the 8-year-old boy. They’re also seeking donations to cover the cost of his burial. View the facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Justice4Gabriel
UPDATED 5/28/13: MOTHER AND BOYFRIEND CHARGED WITH CAPITAL MURDER
This just in from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office:
“A 29-year-old mother and her 32-year-old boyfriend were charged today with one count each of capital murder following the fatal beating of the woman’s 8-year-old son, who died Friday, the District Attorney’s Office announced.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez (dob 8-29-83) and Isauro Aguirre (dob 6-13-80) are charged in case MA059701 with one count each of murder with the special circumstance of torture, said Deputy District Attorney Alisanne Scolnik with the Antelope Valley Branch office.
Prosecutors are asking that the pair be held without bail.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel responded to a call about 11 p.m. that a boy was not breathing in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10, officials said. The child was taken to a hospital. He died on Friday. Investigators said he suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, several broken ribs and burns.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau investigated the case. Prosecutors will decided at a later date whether to seek the death penalty for each defendant.”
The couple was scheduled to be arraigned in court today (May 28), but the arraignment was postponed until June 11.