The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a heartbreaking docuseries on the death of an eight-year-old boy who died at the hands of his mother and step-father.
Over the past few years, Netflix has been releasing quite a few true-crime documentary series, but none have been quite like The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. This documentary tells the harrowing story of an eight-year-old boy who was murdered by his mother and step-father and how the child protective services let him down. The docuseries is directed by Brian Knappenberger and it has left most viewers shaken, some of whom have said to be in tears all through the series.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a six-part series released on the streaming channel on 26 February and it focuses on the life of Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old child who was found unconscious in his home Palmdale, California, on 22 May 2013. The incident left shockwaves through Los Angeles and witnessed a massive outrage over how a child was left in such a terrible situation and how the entire child protective service failed to save him, even though there was ample evidence of neglect and abuse.
After Fernandez was taken to the hospital, the doctors found that a part of the boy's skull had been fractured in two places, he suffered from three broken ribs, multiple teeth were knocked out with a bat, and upon further examination, the child's lungs and groin were found severely injured by BB gun pellets. The child was found to be brain dead the same day and he was taken off life support. Later on, it was revealed that Gabriel's death was because of a long and sustained abuse that was inflicted on him by his mother Pearl Sinthia Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez follows the prosecution that is built against his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, and four L.A. social workers who were also charged with child abuse and falsifying public records. As reported by the prosecutors, Aguirre tortured Fernandez because she believed that her son is gay. Over the course of months, Aguirre subjected her son to heinous and unspeakable torture that ultimately took the little boy's life. One of the trials that took place in 2017, it was revealed by Dr. James Ribe that the injuries sustained by Gabriel were so extensive that it took him a full two days to complete the autopsy. It was concluded by Ribe that Gabriel died as a result of blunt force trauma, and constant neglect.
Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli said during the trial, "It goes without saying the conduct was horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil. It is unimaginable the pain this child probably endured." But Gabriel's torture didn't go unnoticed. From 2003 to 2012, more than 60 complaints were filed against the couple with the Department of Children and Family Services, reported NBC. In June 2018, Pearl and Aguirre were both convicted of first-degree murder. Pearl was given a life sentence without the chance of parole and Aguirre was given the death penalty. Judge Lomeli said during the sentencing, "You want to say that the conduct was animalistic, but that would be wrong because even animals know how to take care of their young, some to the extent that they would sacrifice their own lives in caring for their young."
The viewers who have already watched the documentary have taken to social media to express their anger and frustration with how Gabriel's case was handled. One person wrote, "F*** these social workers. F*** that teacher. F*** all these people he told his story to & who blatantly f***ing ignored his outcries for help. HE SHOULD BE HERE. He should've been helped! Rest peacefully sweet boy. I'm so sorry everyone failed you." Another one added, "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez was heartbreaking. I cannot believe anyone on this planet would do what they did to that poor poor boy. It was a struggle to watch but I just had to see the parents who did all the abusing were sentenced accordingly. They way he looked, broke my heart." A third viewer noted, "The Gabriel Fernandez Trials on Netflix makes me f***ing sick."