8-YO tortured by mom and her boyfriend asked his teacher if it was normal for kids to be beaten with belt buckles

8-YO tortured by mom and her boyfriend asked his teacher if it was normal for kids to be beaten with belt buckles

After the abusive mother made a 911 call saying her son had slipped and hit his head, the signs of abuse were clear to even the first responders who found BB gun pellets lodged in his skin.

Trigger warning: Contains graphic descriptions of child abuse which may be distressing to some readers

It's nearly impossible to imagine the full extent of horror that 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez would have experienced in the last few months of his life. Despite several signs of Gabriel crying out for help, nobody took notice of the torture he was undergoing at home. The little boy's mother and her boyfriend had made him spend most nights with a sock in his mouth, had his ankles handcuffed while shoelaces were tied around his hands. He was often locked away in a cabinet which the cruel couple nicknamed "the cubby," as reported by Atlantic.

After he was born on February 21, 2005, Gabriel was first looked after by his uncle and then by his grandparents. During this time, he is seen as a sweet little boy with the same endearing innocence as any other child. However, in October 2012, his mother, Pearl Fernandez insisted that the boy should move in with her so that she could get welfare benefits, according to Mirror.


Family members raised their voice against this and the police were also informed by Gabriel's grandmother that Pearl was known for abusing her other children. Officials didn't believe the grandmother's story and hence, Gabriel was unfortunately sent to live with his mother and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. He also shared the house with his two siblings and was sent to a new school.

A few weeks into joining his new class, Gabriel showed signs of abuse to his teacher as he asked gut-wrenching questions to her that alarmed the teacher, Jennifer Garcia.

"Is it normal for moms to hit their kids?" the boy asked his teacher, as quoted by Mirror.

When Garcia pressed on to know more about what was happening to Gabriel at home, he even asked her if it was normal for a child to be hit with a belt buckle. And the last question he asked him was truly disturbing.

"Is it normal for you to bleed?" Gabriel asked his teacher.

Garcia raised alarms with the Los Angeles County child abuse hotline about the conversation she had with the boy. Although the case was taken up and care workers did indeed visit the house on several occasions, they were reported to have found nothing that indicated Gabriel was unsafe in the house with his mother.

An official from the County Department of Children and Family Services even signed off a request to close Gabriel's case, believing that he was in safe hands, reported Atlantic.

But the grim reality was that Gabriel's suffering at home was actually growing worse even while care workers visited his home," according to Mirror. Some of the grueling incidents that took place included forcing the boy to eat cat litter, using a belt to whip him, and covering him with pepper spray. He even suffered cigarette burns and was also starved.

He would have no choice but to go to school with the bruises.


Not only was the defenseless boy regularly beaten, but also had his teeth knocked out with a bat and would be locked up in the tiny cabinet, which Mirror said was called 'The Box.'

After months of Pearl and Isauro torturing the boy, a 911 call was made on May 22, 2013, where the mother reported that her son slipped, hit his head, and stopped breathing.

What paramedics found when they arrived was Gabriel's abused boy, with broken ribs, a cracked skull, and severe injuries. The signs of abuse were clear to even the first responders as they found pellets lodged in his skin, which were shot from a BB gun. Before Pearl's 911 call was made, her boyfriend beat the child, giving him injuries that would ultimately lead to his tragic death.

At the hospital, the little boy was declared brain dead and a couple of days later, he passed away.

His teacher, Garcia was devastated by the news and a few days after his death, she found a note hidden in Gabriel's desk. "I love you mom and Gabriel is a good boy," the boy wrote in shaky handwriting.

The gruesome events that happened in Gabriel's short life led to the couple being put under trial. A Netflix docu-series called The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez shows events of the trail as well as failures on the part of the system that allowed an 8-year-old boy to be tortured and murdered.


When the court heard that Pearl and Isauro punished the boy because they thought he was gay, the judge described the brutal abuse to the child as "horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil."

Pearl admitted to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Her boyfriend was found guilty of first-degree murder, with intentional murder by torture added to it; he was sentenced to death and Mirror reported that he was on death row.

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