A story for every victim

Gabriel Fernandez, 8

Gabriel Fernandez, an 8-year-old Latino boy, died Friday, May 24, after he was beaten in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.

Grand jury testimony revealed that the child’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, called 911 after she and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, allegedly beat Gabriel for not picking up his toys. After the beating the boy went silent and stopped responding. 

The two were indicted in August 2014 on charges of murder and a special circumstance of torture, and pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty in the case.

Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services left Gabriel in the home despite six investigations into abuse allegations involving the mother over the last decade.

Gabriel's death sparked a larger investigation into the county Department of Children and Family Services that found a long history of reports of abuse in the Fernandez home.

His mother and Aguirre are accused of beating Gabriel to death after dousing him with pepper spray, forcing him to eat his own vomit and locking him in a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams, according to court records.

Detectives who searched the family's apartment found a wooden club covered in Gabriel's blood, The Times reported.

When paramedics arrived May 22, 2013, they found Gabriel naked in a bedroom, not breathing, with a cracked skull, three broken ribs and BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin. He died two days later.

"It was just like every inch of this child had been abused," testified James Cermak, a Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic.

The child’s siblings told investigators they heard "something" happen to Gabriel, but declined to elaborate, according to the county reports.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

-- Times staff writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report

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