LOS ANGELES – Two social workers and two supervising social workers were fired by the Department of Children and Family Services over the tragic death of Gabriel Fernandez, County Supervisor Michael Antonovich announced Tuesday.
Three additional DCFS workers were either reprimanded or received poor performance ratings in their personnel file, Antonovich stated.
Eight-year-old 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. Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, admitted to being present while her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, repeatedly abused Gabriel and caused his injuries in their Palmdale apartment.
Mother and boyfriend were each charged with one count of capital murder in connection with the deadly beating.
Gabriel’s plight has drawn national attention and has sparked outrage throughout the local community, with many residents believing the little boy could have been saved if social workers intervened.
There was a public outcry for firings, and even criminal prosecution, when it was disclosed that DCFS had conducted six prior abuse investigations regarding Gabriel’s mother, yet DCFS failed to remove Gabriel from her presence.
Antonovich, who called for an investigation into the case, commended DCFS for the firings, stating “It is vital that those working in the child protection system remain vigilant to ensure the safety and well-being of those in the County’s care.”
Pearl Fernandez, 29, and Isauro Aguirre, 32, are each being held without bail in County jail. They’re due back in court on August 13 for a scheduled arraignment on the capital murder charges. Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty.
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