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The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez

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A new true-crime documentary series on Netflix, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, documents the months of abuse leading up to eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez's death on May 24, 2013. The documentary explores the systematic failures of social care and the abuse inflicted upon Gabriel by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre.

Another really hard to watch series.  I think it was stretched too far for 6 episodes, it really slumped in the middle when they were documenting the social workers, DCFS, the sheriff's department  and the investigation of the "blue ribbon" committee.  It's half crime show and half social justice show.  

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This was heartbreaking to watch. Agree it was stretched out too much, they could have told the story in three episodes. Everyone failed this little boy. If he had been allowed to stay with the uncle and his partner he’d still be alive today. 

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I started to watch this, but it triggered too many of my own childhood memories.  After sobbing through the first episode and part of the second, hubby gently suggested that it might be a good idea to skip the rest of it.

But my heart breaks for Gabriel, and I hope his female birth vessel and her boyfriend rot in hell for all eternity.

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One of the most heartbreaking documentaries I’ve ever seen. Extremely hard to get thru but watched for justice for Gabriel. To even imagine that there are human beings out there that would do this harm to any human, let alone a child is unthinkable. Death penalty and life in prison is not enough imo. These people deserve to live out the rest of their miserable lives with the same torture they put upon this little angel. 
 

Rest In Peace Gabriel! You will always be remembered! 

Edited by TVjunkie03 · Reason: Typo
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21 minutes ago, TVjunkie03 said:

One of the most heartbreaking documentaries I’ve ever seen. Extremely hard to get thru but watched for justice for Gabriel. To even imagine that there are human beings out there that would do this harm to any human, let alone a child is unthinkable. Death penalty and life in prison is not enough imo. These people deserve to live out the rest of their miserable lives with the same torture they put upon this little angel. 
 

Rest In Peace Gabriel! You will always be remembered! 

That's why I wanted to finish it.  I felt a little guilty that I just couldn't.  I fully agree . . . Gabriel needs to be sitting somewhere in Heaven, surrounded by people who love him and smiling and at peace.  He will not / should not ever be forgotten.

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On 2/29/2020 at 11:39 AM, TVjunkie03 said:

One of the most heartbreaking documentaries I’ve ever seen.

Absolutely. The most painful part of the series was his Mother's Day gift to his mom; despite the horrific abuse he endured, he still loved her unconditionally. 

DCFS failed Gabriel miserably; I did not have one once of sympathy for the workers involved as they egregiously dropped the ball on his case. Worst of all, this could have been avoided had he remained with his uncle and grandparents who provided him a loving home. The blood is on their hands.

On 2/29/2020 at 12:03 PM, AZChristian said:

These people deserve to live out the rest of their miserable lives with the same torture they put upon this little angel

I take comfort in knowing that their fellow cellmates are coming for the necks. They DO NOT tolerate harming children; especially since some of them are parents themselves. If the mom isn't placed in solitary by now, she's going to wish that she was.

Edited by sereion
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That poor, poor little boy,  I hope he is in heaven, running and jumping and playing, just having a wonderful time, surrounded by love.

And I hope the boyfriend and his mother are being abused in every way every day in prison.

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13 minutes ago, edie3 said:

And I hope the boyfriend and his mother are being abused in every way every day in prison.

I wonder about that.  The boyfriend is a big, husky guy.  He's probably able to take care of himself.  And even though he's sentenced to death, his chances of actually getting executed are very small.  The mom, regardless of how her attorneys portrayed her, you saw her true colors in that video where the jail guards are trying to get her in her cell and take off her cuffs.  She's able to bring the crazy.

There's no way they're going to suffer the way they made that poor boy suffer.

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I actually found talk of using algorithms and things like that kind of interesting. That system is too big and bloated. I had a friend who worked for CPS and she had double the number of kids she felt like she could effectively handle. She got burned out and quit.

Still no excuse for this, though. That teacher called how many times?! Why on earth would they believe the mother, too? Because she presented herself in such a convincing way? What a joke. That poor, sweet boy. 

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Here is a link to an interesting article from the The Atlantic, talking about him and the failures of the system.

 

The Atlantic

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Did they ever say what happened to his uncle? I know they showed the uncle’s partner. And I assumed the uncle had died, but I never knew for sure. 

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4 hours ago, Tisharp said:

Did they ever say what happened to his uncle? I know they showed the uncle’s partner. And I assumed the uncle had died, but I never knew for sure. 

I was wondering that as well.

I found the first two episodes gut wrenching -- and I am pretty tough to rattle.  Thought I just couldn't make it through the remaining episodes...but, like other posters have mentioned -- I felt like I owed it to this poor, sweet boy to hear his story that fell on so many deaf ears until it was far too late. (Middle three are more how pretty much every person at DFS failed/screwed up in some way.  Some due to inexperience, some due to overloaded with cases....and others just didn't give a shit.  Last episode is pretty rough when they interview the siblings.  And finding out it's still happening to California kids in the system.)

As for the two sacks of worthless carbon that continue to waste oxygen (they are NOT human), they are probably in solitary in some capacity -- no way in hell they are Genpopped for the reason their safety is 'important.'

Skin those two alive and just give fire ants a feast is still too good for them.

Gabriel, I am so deeply sorry you were failed.  I am sorry you suffered not knowing love in your final days, and I hope if I can ever help to change the system that failed you, I will.

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5 hours ago, BeatrixK said:

I was wondering that as well.

I found the first two episodes gut wrenching -- and I am pretty tough to rattle.  Thought I just couldn't make it through the remaining episodes...but, like other posters have mentioned -- I felt like I owed it to this poor, sweet boy to hear his story that fell on so many deaf ears until it was far too late. (Middle three are more how pretty much every person at DFS failed/screwed up in some way.  Some due to inexperience, some due to overloaded with cases....and others just didn't give a shit.  Last episode is pretty rough when they interview the siblings.  And finding out it's still happening to California kids in the system.)

As for the two sacks of worthless carbon that continue to waste oxygen (they are NOT human), they are probably in solitary in some capacity -- no way in hell they are Genpopped for the reason their safety is 'important.'

Skin those two alive and just give fire ants a feast is still too good for them.

Gabriel, I am so deeply sorry you were failed.  I am sorry you suffered not knowing love in your final days, and I hope if I can ever help to change the system that failed you, I will.

I wish I could like your post a million fucking times!!! Watching her attorney cuddle/rub her back while in the courtroom made me want to stab my tv. The fact that anyone would have some sort of sympathy for that waste is beyond me. Her lawyer is just as bad as all the people that failed little Gabriel. 

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22 hours ago, BeatrixK said:

As for the two sacks of worthless carbon that continue to waste oxygen (they are NOT human), they are probably in solitary in some capacity -- no way in hell they are Genpopped for the reason their safety is 'important.'

Skin those two alive and just give fire ants a feast is still too good for them.

Someone on another website sent me a link.  Mama Pearl is NOT doing well in prison.  Her face was slashed with the lid of a tuna can, she's had hot coffee poured onto her face, and (allegedly) corrections officers are looking the other way.  She was beaten so badly in her cell one day by a group of other convicts that it took two days to get the blood off the walls.

RIP, Gabriel.  Karma's getting her for you.

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6 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Someone on another website sent me a link.  Mama Pearl is NOT doing well in prison.  Her face was slashed with the lid of a tuna can, she's had hot coffee poured onto her face, and (allegedly) corrections officers are looking the other way.  She was beaten so badly in her cell one day by a group of other convicts that it took two days to get the blood off the walls.

RIP, Gabriel.  Karma's getting her for you.

Would you be able to post the link here? L I also heard from a friend that this happened to her but could not find any info online. Call me sick, but it gives me satisfaction to read that shit! Fuck her! I hope this happens to her for the rest of her remaining years in there. 

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26 minutes ago, TVjunkie03 said:

Would you be able to post the link here? L I also heard from a friend that this happened to her but could not find any info online. Call me sick, but it gives me satisfaction to read that shit! Fuck her! I hope this happens to her for the rest of her remaining years in there. 

The link I was sent was broken, but here's a screen shot of the online post about what happened to her.

Capture.JPG

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1 hour ago, AZChristian said:

The link I was sent was broken, but here's a screen shot of the online post about what happened to her.

Capture.JPG

Thank you for reposting! This is better than the death penalty imo. 

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Seeing what is happening to Pearl in prison makes my goddamn night. I am a social worker – – haven’t done foster care and CPS in over 20 years – – and can attest that the caseloads are often higher than you can keep up with. But goddamnit, even if it’s almost time to leave on a Friday, if a call like the one that security guard tried to make comes in, you stay long enough to report it to the after-hours hotline! I’m not in L.A. (and won’t name my state or locality here), but can say that if anything, and again this was 20 years ago, the mistake my agency made more often than not was removing kids from their homes when they didn’t really need to be removed. 
   Like other posters here I’m still not clear on why he was even removed from the home of the uncle and his boyfriend. Apparently there was an allegation of sexual abuse but it doesn’t sound as if it was founded/proven, so....WTF?!?

 

Edited by Liamsmom617
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3 hours ago, Liamsmom617 said:

Like other posters here I’m still not clear on why he was even removed from the home of the uncle and his boyfriend. Apparently there was an allegation of sexual abuse but it doesn’t sound as if it was founded/proven, so....WTF?!?

It wasn't clear to me if the allegation against his uncle was official or just talk among the family.  Even so, he then went to live with his grandparents and apparently they were also good to him.  His mother only took him when she decided she wanted the extra money he would bring in.   It's too bad she didn't have her parental rights terminated when she left him as a baby in the hospital. 

It continues to amaze me that Gabriel was not abused his whole life.  His "mother" and her boyfriend did all that to him in 8 months. 

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This will stick with me forever.  I can not imagine treating a child, much less anyone or anything, in the manner those two psychopaths did.  That poor baby.  I didn't see emotion from them even at their sentencing.  I thought Pearl would show something for "her man" being sentenced to death, but that didn't even rattle her.  I still can't believe she said she hoped her kids would come to their senses and come to her.  How can you be that oblivious and callous?  Then again, I will say that I don't understand ANYTHING those two people have done.  I just pray for the other two children as well.  

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13 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

It wasn't clear to me if the allegation against his uncle was official or just talk among the family.  Even so, he then went to live with his grandparents and apparently they were also good to him.  His mother only took him when she decided she wanted the extra money he would bring in.   It's too bad she didn't have her parental rights terminated when she left him as a baby in the hospital. 

It continues to amaze me that Gabriel was not abused his whole life.  His "mother" and her boyfriend did all that to him in 8 months. 

I found this to be a frustrating aspect of this series; in some ways there was a ton of information, but in some ways very little. I actually left with a ton of questions.

What was Tony’s background? We know Pearl had an awful life, but what was Tony’s story?

What was the story with the father of the three kids? Given how chaotic Pearl’s life was I was a little surprised they all had the same dad. What was that relationship like? What was he in prison for?

What was going on with the two siblings? Did they live with Pearl their whole lives?

What happened to make Pearl want Gabriel back? I believe it was money, but why after 8 years? Did something happen where she needed money? Was that when she got together with Tony? Did he want the benefit money?

What happened with the ex-nun social worker? Other than being bad at her job, I wasn’t clear on what she was being accused of?

Speaking of that, what were the “deliberate actions to keep Gabriel at home” the prosecutors were talking about. It felt like at one point there would be some big reveal that kind of didn’t happen. 

Why did they decide to take Tony to court 1st? That seems to give a huge advantage to Pearl since she can see what happens and then judge her odds...which is what happened.

How did Tony even end up at trial? Was the prosecution unwilling to make a deal for life without parole? I have to think any lawyer is going to tell Tony that was the best he could hope for. Was Tony hoping to be acquitted? Did he think he could get out of prison?

Im sure I’ll come up with more as I think about this since I can’t stop thinking about it.

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My understanding is that Pearl never terminated her rights so legally the uncles had no right to Gabriel. The grandparents were homophobic so took Gabriel from them. Again, never done legally, these kids were just abandoned regularly by their mother so family members took care of them. 

What I don't understand is why the uncles and grandparents didn't go to court to attempt to obtain custody. Maybe money? It's clear DCFS wouldn't have recommended he be removed. This was heart wrenching to watch and he was failed. 

They didn't do their jobs at multiple steps. The deputies involved should have been punished as well. 

 

 

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Poor poor Pearl, what has happened to her in prison isn't nearly enough.

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7 hours ago, FozzyBear said:

What was going on with the two siblings? Did they live with Pearl their whole lives?

The show was unclear, but all 3 kids lived with their grandparents at some time or other. 

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On 3/3/2020 at 1:42 PM, AZChristian said:

Someone on another website sent me a link.  Mama Pearl is NOT doing well in prison.  Her face was slashed with the lid of a tuna can, she's had hot coffee poured onto her face, and (allegedly) corrections officers are looking the other way.  She was beaten so badly in her cell one day by a group of other convicts that it took two days to get the blood off the walls.

Ahhh...sweet karmic justice.  This could not happen to a more deserving person.

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Just finished watching the series.  I have to say, I held it together until episode 5 when we heard the testimony read back and the videos of his siblings.  It broke my heart.   Just hearing his sister start crying because she never had a chance to say sorry to Gabriel and the cop telling his brother that he did nothing wrong was just so powerful.  
 

The social worker supervisor at the end saying that they couldn’t have done anything more just killed me.  Really? Nothing? How about fulfilling protocol and requiring him to see a doctor.  How about documenting his complete set of injuries on your chart??! How about instead of yammering on about the importance of reunification you look at the rights of the child first? I hope these people get the Justice they deserve.

I couldn’t help but laugh a little bitterly at the end message about calling a child abuse hotline, especially after all we have heard and seen about the failure of DCFS time and time again.  

1 hour ago, sereion said:

Ahhh...sweet karmic justice.  This could not happen to a more deserving person.

It would be even better if Pearl would then be forced to clean her own blood off the wall.  

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Pearl's beatdown story confirmed.

This guy on YouTube reached out to the lady who shared the story, and she granted him an interview. She also revealed the identity of the women who gave her the beatdown; I read the comments, and there is talk of rewarding them by adding money to their books, lol.

Edited by sereion
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Hard to watch but his story I hope will bring awareness and change how the child welfare system intakes allegations and how information obtained is verified. Gabriel had no chance at life living with Pearl. Breaks my heart knowing what he endured. She deserves everything she gets and more. I am happy she is suffering and I hope her boyfriend gets put to death and the other two kids never visit. RIP Gabriel💔

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BTW, if a pic leaks of that devils face, I wanna see! Hope she is disfigured 🤷‍♀️

Edited by GonnahearmeRoar
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The social worker supervisor at the end saying that they couldn’t have done anything more just killed me.  Really? Nothing? How about fulfilling protocol and requiring him to see a doctor.  How about documenting his complete set of injuries on your chart??! How about instead of yammering on about the importance of reunification you look at the rights of the child first? I hope these people get the Justice they deserve.

I couldn’t help but laugh a little bitterly at the end message about calling a child abuse hotline, especially after all we have heard and seen about the failure of DCFS time and time again

I agree! I have no sympathy for the social workers, especially because none of them seemed to take responsibility for their part in this. The one guy that kept saying “I did my job.” Really? You did your job in letting this little boy continue to be tortured and then killed? Same with the older woman who played the victim herself. She infuriated me!

One thing I wondered that wasn’t addressed: were any of the other kids abused? When one child is abused in a home, doesn’t it usually extend to the others as well? I realize they were emotionally abused in having to witness what was happening to their brother, but were they ever also physically abused?

The hotline comment was ridiculous. Another problem I have is that DCFS’s official stance is still that children are best off with the parents. Last year I applied to be a CASA volunteer in my area and was told the same thing. I had a problem with the statement then and still do, especially after what I just watched. Why is this assumption still in place when often the child is being ABUSED by the parents? 

I also didn’t like the social worker supervisor or whoever the blonde woman was that was making excuses for “the system” and how it’s not perfect. A boy was murdered. Stop throwing out cliches and admit something is seriously, badly wrong. 

The boyfriend and the mother are two of the most vile, evil and disgusting people I’ve ever heard about or seen. Pearl’s statement at the end was obviously prepared for her. She was about as emotional and sincere as a person reading a phone book. I don’t even know if she’ll be haunted by the memories of what she did while she is in prison, because the woman seems to completely lack a conscience. 

Edited by Sweet-tea
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45 minutes ago, Sweet-tea said:

One thing I wondered that wasn’t addressed: were any of the other kids abused? When one child is abused in a home, doesn’t it usually extend to the others as well? I realize they were emotionally abused in having to witness what was happening to their brother, but were they ever also physically abused?

Gabriel was targeted specifically because the boyfriend thought he was gay.  I'm no expert, but I think it's common (or at least not uncommon) for one child in a family like this to be the "whipping boy".  Apart from, as you say, the emotional abuse, I don't think the other 2 kids were physically abused.

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On 3/12/2020 at 2:35 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

Gabriel was targeted specifically because the boyfriend thought he was gay.  I'm no expert, but I think it's common (or at least not uncommon) for one child in a family like this to be the "whipping boy".  Apart from, as you say, the emotional abuse, I don't think the other 2 kids were physically abused.

Yeah, in abusive families there is often a scapegoat child and a golden child. Poor Gabriel was obviously the scapegoat.

 

On 3/12/2020 at 1:45 PM, Sweet-tea said:

Same with the older woman who played the victim herself. She infuriated me!

If that's the same older broad I'm thinking about, she seriously pissed me off when she tried to lob blame off on Gabriel's teacher for letting him leave her classroom at the end if the day. Like, bitch, that poor teacher was calling your worthless asses everyday to report the abuse she was seeing. She was doing her job, to teach children and be a mandated reporter. Short of kidnapping him, there wasn't much else she could've done. And sadly, even if she had kidnapped him, she likely would've gone to jail and Gabriel would've gone back to his abusers. Infuriating. 

Edited by HeySandyStrange
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This is a heartbreak and important story to tell. 

I do think, however, that the series could have been better. Often times, I felt disoriented with the timeline of events and left with questions that were never answered. Namely, what was the legal custody situation? Did Pearl ever lose legal custody? Why did the grandparents stop caring for him? 

I also wish the series presented the contacts with DCFS in chronological order. I would like to know the reason the first call was made and how that progressed until Gabriel's untimely death. 

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I finished watching this today and I can't forget that security guard that called 911 when he saw Gabriel walking by. The fact that the social workers wouldn't work any more because they wouldn't get overtime pay is too common in government jobs. I was only half paying attention about the private companies that have contracts with social work, but I heard enough to know that's a big red flag in a broken system. That poor security guard was the one who did the right thing and again, that dispatch call kept falling to the bottom of the list. When the sheriffs got out there to see poor Gabriel, once again they believe the mother. I thought police depts/dispatch kept histories of callouts to addresses---wouldn't this address already be flagged as a domestic violence type? So many failures in every system. Even the principal not backing the teacher, saying they couldn't get involved, only report. That went nowhere. That poor teacher--#28 reserved for Gabriel in his honor. So many tears watching this...

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On 2/29/2020 at 10:01 AM, Straycat80 said:

This was heartbreaking to watch. Agree it was stretched out too much, they could have told the story in three episodes. Everyone failed this little boy. If he had been allowed to stay with the uncle and his partner he’d still be alive today. 

I so agree. Gabriel would have been alive, happy and doing great with his uncle & his partner, However, The system failed him by giving him back to these demons. I found myself screaming at my laptop & infuriated watching this series. May Gabriel rest in peace. I pray that these kids out there going through abuse--get put with a loving family member and their cases are not swept under the rug as they did Gabriel. 

 

So tragic & heartbreaking to be born into a family that is supposed to love & protect you but despise, torture and treat you like a punching bag & enemy. (God--please forgive me for saying this!) People like this shouldn't have kids There's so many folks out there that are praying to conceive a child but there are monsters out there that are so blessed to be able to have children & don't know how to love em. So tragic and heartbreaking to know that this will continue...lil kids in the hands of evil.

R.I.P. Gabriel Fernandez & Anthony Avalos 

Edited by latincoffee
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