Gabriel Fernandez(Gay?) Autopsy Report: Allegedly Abused by Mother and Boyfriend

A California jury heard testimony in 2017 about the horrific torture and abuse that 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez endured from his mother and her partner because they thought he was gay. The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez, a documentary about the awful crime, is now available on Netflix.

In the case of the child’s beating death, Isauro Aguirre was on trial for capital murder; Pearl Sinthia Fernandez was prosecuted separately. They both risked execution if found guilty. The bailiff had to inform the court that this was a “very emotional case” before the opening comments started, and he pleaded with everyone to control their emotions or leave the room.

Before moving from his grandparents’ home to live with his mother and her partner, Fernandez was, in the opinion of Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, content and good health.

Gabriel Fernandez Autopsy Report
Gabriel Fernandez Autopsy Report

The youngster questioned his first-grade teacher if it was “normal to be hit with the metal part of the belt and to bleed.” barely two weeks after moving in with Aguirre and Fernandez. A month later, he showed up at school with a mohawk-style haircut but substantial hair loss, bleeding scabs, and a cracked lip.

After school, Gabriel frequently sobbed because he didn’t want to go home. The prosecution claims that the pair even texted each other about torturing and beating the youngster.

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In April 2013, a welfare employment officer called 911 and reported seeing Gabriel’s injuries, which included “black eyes, bruises, burn marks, and ligature marks.” Gabriel was taken out of school for the second time just 13 days before he died. Inside his desk, his teacher found a note that read, “I love you, mom and Gabriel is a good boy.”

Gabriel Fernandez Autopsy Report
Gabriel Fernandez Autopsy Report

The prosecution said that at home, the kid was made to sleep chained and shackled in a small cupboard with a bandana covering his face and a sock covering his lips. On the night of his death, May 22, 2013, Aguirre repeatedly hit him in the head and body and banged his head into a wall so forcefully that it caused damage to the wall.

The other two children, Fernandez, was present when the murder occurred. Gabriel “liked to hit himself, he was gay and he wanted to kill himself.” the couple told authorities.

There is proof that Gabriel expressed his desire to end his life on multiple occasions.

Police also discovered steel-toed boots, a data cord used as a whip, a wooden club, a collapsible metal baton, BB pistols, pepper spray, and other items inside the house. According to an autopsy report, the boy displayed symptoms of starvation as well as cat litter and animal hair in his stomach.

“This wasn’t about drugs. This wasn’t about mental health issues,” Deputy District Attorney Hatami said. “(Aguirre) did it because he didn’t like him… he believed Gabriel was gay and to him, that was a bad thing… he did it out of hatred of a little boy.”

When they came to the call that the boy wasn’t breathing, neither of his parents were observed crying, a firefighter who testified in court claimed. After being transferred to the hospital, Gabriel Fernandez was pronounced brain dead. Two days later, he was removed from life support.

Indicted in July 2014 were Aguirre and Fernandez. Aguirre received a death sentence in 2018, while Fernandez received a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In connection with Fernandez’s murder, four social workers were also accused of fabricating records and abusing children; however, their accusations were dropped in January 2020. In court, both of Fernandez’s siblings gave testimony.

The recent documentary is now delving further into the unfortunate situation.

Director Brian Knappenberger explained why he decided to make the documentary. He revealed that it was inspired by former journalist Garrett Therolf’s reporting, explaining, “I just thought it was a compelling story. It was so powerful and tense, and it was clear that Gabriel’s story had touched nearly everybody he had come in contact with. [H]earing those stories, I think we were just blown away and had to dig deeper.”

The documentary makes an effort to go further into social workers and how the system let down Fernandez.

Knappenberger said, “The Department of Children and Family Services is very secretive. We don’t know much about them. They’re not very transparent and I want people to understand the reach of this agency. Some people are great. We have amazing social workers… But the way that the system is structured right now is problematic.”

The director also disclosed that they attempted to contact Aguirre and Fernandez, but neither agreed to an interview. He added that he hoped the film would encourage people to demand change so that another crime like the one that happened to Fernandez would never occur.

“This system is the result of politicians, people on the [Los Angeles] Board of Supervisors, who have made decisions to create a system that we have. The answer is [to] hold the politicians’ feet to the fire.”

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On February 26, Netflix debuted the first season of The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez.

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