Unfortunately, child abuse happens every day, but this little boy went through sheer hell, the type of abuse that police say even "prisoners of war" don't see. Sweet-faced 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was allegedly forced to eat cat feces, his own vomit, and was doused with pepper spray -- not by his worst enemies, but by his own parents. Who were his worst enemies. His mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, are charged with his murder, and the details of what this little angel allegedly suffered over the course of eight months of torture will turn your stomach.
Police were called to the Fernandez house by Gabriel's mother, who says she found him barely breathing. Cops found the boy naked, with a cracked skull, three broken ribs, and BB pellets in his lungs and groin. Still, he held on, not dying until two days later at the hospital. At the very least, he died with strangers around him, who cared about him more than his caretakers allegedly ever did.
The list of alleged abuse is so disgusting, that I won't go into great detail here, but eating his own vomit was just the tip of the iceberg. He was also allegedly forced to wear girls' clothes to school, and slept in a locked cabinet and was not let out even to go to the bathroom. Once his mother allegedly hit him with a bat and knocked out several teeth.
And the truly unspeakable part? So many people could have saved him, and no one did. Teachers at his school reportedly called child services several times out of concern, and many visited his home, and yet nothing was ever done. One social worker even said she saw nothing wrong with him except a cold sore. (A teacher says this was actually a bloodied lip from abuse.)
How does this much systemic abuse happen and no one see how bad it was? A child has teeth one day, and the next does not?!
The couple reportedly covered up the abuse with a trail of forged doctors' notes, but even that should have rang some alarm bells. How many times does a child need a doctor?!
The little boy was allegedly so despondent, he even wrote a suicide note. Ugh, how awful that he was only on this planet for eight years and yet wanted to kill himself to get away from this horror.
Gabriel's case was so egregious that it led to an overhaul of the Los Angeles County foster care system. At least four people involved in his case were fired.
Everyone failed this poor child. The adults who should have done something failed him. His family failed him -- where were the grandparents with whom he had lived for the first two years of his life before his mother reclaimed him?
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And, of course, his parents failed him. Where was his father?
Innocent until proven guilty, but if the mother really did all of this horrible abuse, there are no words. She, and her boyfriend, if they are found guilty, deserve the harshest punishment there is.
This little boy never even knew there was such a thing as love in the world.
Image via Gabriel's Justice/Facebook