PALMDALE – A Palmdale couple charged with torturing and murdering the woman’s 8-year-old son appeared in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday for a scheduled arraignment.
Pearl Fernandez, 29, and Isauro Aguirre, 32, did not enter a plea, and their arraignment was delayed yet again, this time until October 7.
Fernandez and Aguirre are each charged with murder with a special circumstance of torture in connection with the deadly beating of 8-year-old Gabriel.
Gabriel died on May 24, two days after he was rushed to the hospital with a fractured skull, cracked ribs, burns and bruises from head to toe. Fernandez admitted to being present while her boyfriend, Aguirre, repeatedly abused Gabriel and caused his injuries in their Palmdale apartment, sheriff’s officials said.
Several neighbors at the couple’s Palmdale apartment complex, in the 200 Block of East Avenue Q-10, said little Gabriel often had bruises on his face, arms and legs. They said he was forced to parade around the complex in girls’ clothing as a form of punishment. (Read more here)
Gabriel’s teacher said she too witnessed the scars from repeated abuse, which included cigarette burns and BB gun bruises to Gabriel’s face. She said she reported it to social workers on many occasions, but no action was taken. (Read more here.)
Gabriel’s plight 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 social workers had conducted six prior abuse investigations regarding Fernandez, yet Gabriel was not removed from her presence.
Two social workers and two supervising social workers have since been fired by the Department of Children and Family Services for their involvement in Gabriel’s case.
Three additional DCFS workers were either reprimanded or received poor performance ratings in their personnel file, according to L.A. County Supervisor Micheal Antonovich.
Fernandez and Aguirre are each being held without bail in County jail. Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty.
UPDATED 10/7/13: The arraignment for Fernandez and Aguirre was postponed yet again, this time until Nov. 19, 2013, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
UPDATED 11/19/13: The arraignment for Fernandez and Aguirre has been postponed again, this time until Jan. 13, 2014, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
UPDATED 1/13/14: The arraignment for Fernandez and Aguirre has been postponed again, this time until Feb. 18, 2014, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
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