Court records made public on Monday show that 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was allegedly beaten to death by his mother and her boyfriend. In the past, the couple had called Gabriel gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school.
The Los Angeles Times reviewed 800 pages of testimony that showed multiple allegations of abuse with little action to protect Gabriel. The Times reports:
The abuse worsened in the months leading up to Gabriel's death, according to testimony from two of his siblings, both of whom are minors. They said Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces, rotten spinach and his own vomit. He slept in a locked cabinet and wasn't let out to go to the bathroom. Fernandez and Aguirre called Gabriel gay, punished him when he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school, the siblings said.
Several agencies reportedly investigated allegations of abuse without removing Gabriel from the home. As recently as a week before Gabriel's death, school officials asked a deputy to investigate his many absences. The deputy said he was given the wrong address at the time and when he got in contact with Gabriel's mother she said he had moved to Texas to live with his grandmother. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has reportedly moved to take action and fire workers involved with the case.