L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies Disciplined After Torture Death of Gabriel Fernandez
It was the worst case of child abuse that local officials had ever seen.
The death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez became a grim symbol of the failure of Los Angeles County’s child welfare system, prompting criminal charges against four social workers and far-reaching reforms of how authorities oversee abused and neglected children. Gabriel’s mother and her boyfriend were charged with his murder.
But far less public scrutiny has been given to the role of L.A. County sheriff’s deputies who investigated Gabriel’s situation in the months before his 2013 death.
A Times review of grand jury testimony, child welfare records and recently filed court documents shows that deputies visited Gabriel’s home multiple times during the eight months prosecutors say he was being tortured and beaten. But the deputies found no signs of abuse and did not file paperwork that would have led specially trained detectives to do more investigating.
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