LANCASTER – The parents of a 4-year-old Palmdale boy pleaded not guilty Thursday to a grand jury indictment charging them with murder and torture in their son’s July 2019 death.
Jose Maria Cuatro Jr., 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 26, were indicted Jan. 23 on those charges in the death of their son, Noah Cuatro.
The indictment also charges the boy’s father with one count each of assault on a child causing death and a newly added count of sexual penetration of a child under 10, with the indictment alleging that the latter crime occurred on the same day the boy was attacked.
The boy’s mother is additionally charged with one count of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause death.
The two are due back in court for a pretrial hearing Dec. 8 in Lancaster, where the case was sent for trial.
Cuatro — who has remained behind bars since his arrest on Sept. 26, 2019 — could face a maximum of 47 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.
Juarez — who was arrested the same day — could face up to 32 years to life in prison, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The two reported a drowning in their family pool in the 1200 block of East Avenue S around 4 p.m. on July 5, 2019.
The youngster was taken first to Palmdale Regional Medical Center and then to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead the next day.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced the following week that an investigation was underway into the boy’s death. The sheriff said Noah lived with his parents and three siblings, who were taken into protective custody.
On July 1, the boy’s great-grandmother, Evangelina Hernandez, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County on behalf of herself and the boy’s sister and two brothers, alleging that his death occurred after multiple reports of abuse had already been made to the Department of Children and Family Services.
“Instead of protecting Noah and his siblings, DCFS continued to place the children with their abusive parents, where the children continued to be abused over the course of several years,” the suit alleges.
After Noah’s death, DCFS social workers made threats against Hernandez “in an attempt to silence her,” the lawsuit alleges.
The social workers told Hernandez that if she made any public statements about Noah’s case and/or potential lawsuits, she would lose her request for guardianship of her other three great-grandchildren and would never see them again, the suit states.
Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services is also named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit. Hathaway-Sycamores knew of or suspected the abuse and misconduct occurring in Noah’s home after the boy was sent to the agency by the county Department of Children and Family Services for mental health services, but failed to report the abuse, according to the suit.
The DCFS previously issued a statement regarding Noah’s death.
“At any given time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to pursue child safety every day in our communities,” the statement read. “Our 9,000 employees are committed to this mission, and we look to do everything possible to safeguard the children entrusted to our care.”
Previous related stories:
Relative files lawsuit over death of 4-year-old Palmdale boy
New details reveal how two social workers fought, but failed, to save 4-year-old Noah Cuatro
Parents of Noah Cuatro charged with murder, torture
Controversy over Palmdale boy’s death intensifies at L.A. County child welfare meeting
Report clears DCFS of wrongdoing in suspicious death of 4-year-old Palmdale boy
Relative files damages claim over death of 4-year-old Palmdale boy
Authorities ordered Palmdale child removed from home weeks before death
Investigation launched into 4-year-old Palmdale boy’s death
8 comments for "Parents plead not guilty in 4-year-old Palmdale boy’s death"
… they immigrate here illegally, abuse their children, and it’s all our fault.
Marissa White says
Your a disgusting person that’s your thoughts on this immigration! Shame on you Karen oops I mean Kristine. This poor child suffered at their hands they need to pay regardless of race or background.
Your ancestors came here “illegally”, “abused” African Americans and held them as slaves, and you’re here speaking ill of someone who looks hispanic. What they did is wrong, but who the heck are you to be making these assumptions. Stay in your own circle Karen. If you have anything to say to that, feel free to speak to your local Karens because I’m sure they’re the only ones who care
I am Latino and I am disgusted to see Mexicans coming here to the USA do things like this. I heard they even like to decapitate men and women that don’t cooperate with the Mexican drug cartels, just like their Aztecs and Maya ancestors.
The government needs to stop SO MANY Latinos from immigrating to the USA. Enough is enough. Too many of them. Their country Mexico (the same with Guatemala and Honduras) is a brown hole but that’s their problem and THEY need to fix it. The answer is not running away to other countries!!!
Fernanda Carvalho says
Why do you need to say “illegally”? Do you really know about their situation? I think you are a racist karen. Smfh
Those two cowardly mestizos need to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
This is the same story for the third time with short periods of time between all three deaths. They did no changes in the system with the first two cases and sadly will do nothing when we hear about the next news story of the fourth helpless young child tortured to death in the AV. All the county supervisors care about is freeing inmates, classifying everyone as mentally ill, and taxing every penny from hard working citizens for BS projects. CPS has learned that the courts will not hold them accountable. So no changes will ever take place. There excuse of servicing 34,000 cases with only 9,000 employees is a [removed] excuse. If my AVHSD schooling is right this means each of the 9,000 employees SHOULD have roughly 3.5 cases each. Children deaths there are no excuses CPS needs to understand. Changes need to take place now, I say start at the top the board of supervisors over see every county funded organization vote them out fire the entire CPS system clearly no one there has the balls to stand for what is right.
Why are children dying when there’s an open CPS case? Something is very wrong. Why wasn’t the boy with his Grandmother? Who is responsible for the bad decision making process? Is it the dependency court judge or the CPS case managers? Ultimately it is the judge’s call on what the case managers report. Someone failed badly, it needs to be investigated.