LANCASTER – A Palmdale couple charged with torturing the woman’s 8-year-old son to death appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom for a scheduled arraignment on Tuesday (June 11).
But 29-year-old Pearl Fernandez and 32-year-old Isauro Aguirre did not enter a plea. Their arraignment was postponed again, this time until August 13.
Fernandez and Aguirre are each charged with one count of capital murder in connection with the deadly beating of Fernandez’s son, Gabriel.
Gabriel died on May 24, two days after he was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull, cracked ribs, burns and bruises throughout his body.
In an interview with detectives, Fernandez admitted to being present while Aguirre abused Gabriel and caused his injuries, sheriff’s officials said.
Several neighbors at the couple’s Palmdale apartment complex said they were aware that Gabriel was being abused. Gabriel often had bruises on his face, arms and legs, and at times, he was forced to wear girls’ clothing as a form of punishment, according to neighbor Claudia Segoviano. (Read more here)
Gabriel’s teacher said she too witnessed the abuse and had reported it to social workers on many occasions. (Read more here.)
Since the incident, County Supervisor Michael Antonovich has launched an investigation into how Gabriel’s case was handled by the Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
According to the Los Angeles Times, social workers left Gabriel in the home despite six abuse investigations involving Fernandez over the last decade.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, DCFS Director Philip Browning acknowledged that the system had failed Gabriel; and four social workers have been placed on desk duty pending possible disciplinary action, the newspaper reported. (Read that article here.)
Gabriel’s plight has drawn worldwide attention, with thousands mobilizing through a facebook page titled “Gabriel’s Justice.” (View it here.)
A local recording artist, Cali Martin, has recorded “Gabriel’s Song.” (Listen to it below.)
Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty for Fernandez and Aguirre, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
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