Gabriel Fernandez, Who Was Tortured To Death, Asked Teacher If It Was Okay Being Hit By A Belt

Gabriel Fernandez, Who Was Tortured To Death, Asked Teacher If It Was Okay Being Hit By A Belt

The chilling Netflix documentary 'The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez' highlights the abuse that the 8-year-old boy had to endure and how teachers, family, and the system failed him.

Trigger Warning: This article contains details of child abuse that some readers may find disturbing

Gabriel Fernandez was a young 8-year-old boy. He was a sweet little first-grader who loved his mom and wanted her to reciprocate an inkling of the love that he had for her. But, as luck would have it, he was tortured to death by the mom and her boyfriend. The very system that was supposed to protect him from the abuse, failed to do so. Four social workers who were assigned to his case didn't do enough to help him and instead contributed to further his abuse, and soon after, his death.


The eight-year-old boy was brutally tortured for over eight months by the mother Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre and despite the boy's many pleas and cries for help, the system failed to act, leading to his death. Recently, streaming service Netflix released a documentary called The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez highlighting the abuse Fernandez had to endure and how teachers, family, and witnesses urged the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to help him, but to no avail. According to a report by The Sun, the boy had black eyes, cuts and bruises all over his face, BB gun wounds, ligature marks on his ankle, cigarette burns and cat litter in his stomach, which he was forced to eat.


Speaking at the trial, his first-grade teacher Jennifer Garcia revealed that the boy regularly confided in her about the abuse he received at home. "The first incident that I became aware that something wasn’t normal, he started asking a couple of questions." She reveals the disturbing questions the boy asked which led her to believe the boy was being abused at home: “Is it normal for your mom to hit you with the part of the belt that has that metal thing on the end?”, a report on The Atlantic reports the boy asking. Garcia says she questioned if he was talking about the buckle and received an affirmative response and then the boy asked if it was "normal for you to bleed?”



Soon after Garcia's request, a caseworker, Stefania Rodriguez responded that she was assigned to take over the boy's case but little action was taken about the situation. In fact, every time Rodriquez placed a call to Fernandez's home, the abuse only intensified. “When I tell you, and that lady comes, then I get hurt worse.” The Atlantic report also reveals that the boy's father and boyfriend were peculiar: "Pearl and Aguirre weren’t like the other first-grade parents, who hovered over their children, crouching down to guide them through introductions or to explain how to get lunch. Pearl and Aguirre asked no questions and offered no pleasantries. Garcia thought they seemed hardened and mean—possibly dangerous." Fernandez, meanwhile, "had a striking innocence. He was hungry for Garcia’s attention and praise and would stay behind at recess to help her collate and staple papers."



Gabriel Fernandez died on 24th May 2013, aged 8. His mother Pearl Fernandez is currently serving a life sentence at Chowchilla State Women’s Prison in California with no possibility of parole while her partner has been sentenced to death.

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