PALMDALE –A 29-year-old Palmdale mother and her 32-year-old boyfriend were charged Tuesday with one count each of murder with a special circumstance of torture in the deadly beating of the woman’s 8-year-old son.
Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre made their first appearance in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday afternoon, but their arraignment was postponed.
As the judge ordered the couple held without bail, the packed courtroom broke into applause. Many in the audience said they came in support of Gabriel, the 8-year-old boy allegedly tortured to death by the couple.
Fernandez admitted to being present while her boyfriend abused her son in their Palmdale apartment in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10, according to sheriff’s officials.
Gabriel died on Friday (May 24), two days after he was hospitalized with a fractured skull, cracked ribs, burns and bruises throughout his body.
“A sweet little innocent child took that abuse and that torture for so long. It angers me inside and it’s nothing I can do about it,” said Victoria Bishop. “All that 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.”
“They say it takes a village to raise a child, where’s the village? Where were the protectors of this baby?” said Shari Martin of the Antelope Valley Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children.
Since Gabriel’s death, family members, a teacher and neighbors have said that they reported the abuse to authorities before it culminated in death.
The case has angered the community, with many residents believing that authorities did not do enough to protect the child. On Monday, dozens of family members and supporters staged a “Justice of Gabriel” protest outside of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
County Supervisor Michael Antonovich has said that he will launch an investigation into how the Department of Children and Family Services handled the case. There will also be an internal investigation into how the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station handled at least three calls for service at the family’s home, according to Palmdale Station Captain Don Ford.
Fernandez and Aguirre are due back in court on June 11 for a scheduled arraignment on the capital murder charges. Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty, officials said.
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