Gabriel Daniel Fernandez (February 20, 2005 – May 24, 2013) was an eight-year-old boy from Palmdale, California who was abused and tortured over a period of months that ultimately ended in his fatal beating on May 22, 2013, which led to his death two days later. His mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, were both charged and convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances of torture. Pearl Fernandez was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and Isauro Aguirre was sentenced to death.
Throughout Fernandez’s eight-month stay with his mother and Aguirre, multiple people reported signs of abuse to social workers with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. However, Fernandez was never removed from the household. This led to several concerns over the effectiveness and efficiency of social services in Los Angeles County, and ultimately led to four social workers being criminally charged in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Gabriel Daniel Fernandez was born on February 20, 2005 to Arnold Contreras and Pearl Fernandez. Shortly after birth, Gabriel was put in the custody of his great-uncle on his mother’s side, Michael Lemos Carranza, and his partner David Martinez. They continued to raise Fernandez for four years. In 2009, four-year-old Gabriel moved in with his grandparents, due to his grandfather’s objection to Carranza’s and Martinez’s same-sex relationship. He lived with his grandparents until 2012, when his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, regained physical custody of him despite concerns for his welfare expressed by the family.