A California appellate court said Monday, Jan.6, that four former social workers should not face charges in the 2013 torture-death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale.
In a 2-1 opinion, the three-justice panel of the California 2nd District Court of Appeal concluded that there was no probable cause to hold the four on charges of child abuse and falsifying public records in the death of Gabriel Fernandez because, according to the ruling, they “never had the requisite duty to control the abusers and did not have care or custody of Gabriel,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The young boy died in May 2013 after months of beatings and torture. His mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, were later convicted of torturing and murdering him.
An autopsy report showed bruises, fractures, and burns all over Gabriel’s body as well as BB’s embedded in his body.
The judge said Gabriel was repeatedly beaten, starved, tied up, locked in a cabinet, shot with a BB gun and once had his teeth knocked out with a bat.
In 2016, Los Angeles County prosecutors charged the social workers with the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, who were involved in his case, failed to take appropriate steps to protect the boy and they falsified documents relating to his case, according to ABC7.
Two social workers, Patricia Clement and Stefanie Rodriguez were charged along with two supervisors, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt with one felony count each of child abuse and falsifying public records.
In June 2018, Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced Isauro Aguirre to death, calling the abuse “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.” The boy’s mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
There was no immediate word on whether prosecutors planned to appeal the appellate court decision or further pursue the case.