The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez: Here’s what happened to all of his family
Many family members took part in the Netflix documentary
Netflix’s latest documentary The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez has been described as the “most harrowing and disturbing” true crime series yet. The series is all about the life and death of eight-year-old Gabriel, who was beaten to death and tortured by his mother and her boyfriend. Many members of the Fernandez family are mentioned and interviewed in the Netflix documentary about Gabriel, so what has happened to them since?
Here is what happened to all of the Fernandez family and where they are, after the death of Gabriel.
*This article contains details of child abuse*
Pearl Fernandez – Gabriel’s mother
Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in February 2018. She was then sentenced to life without parole. She avoided death row because prosecutors factored in her low intelligence – it was revealed in the Netflix documentary that she had an extremely low IQ.
She is currently serving her sentence in Chowchilla State Women’s Prison, in California.
Isauro Aguirre – Gabriel’s step father (Pearl’s boyfriend)
Three months after Gabriel died, his mother’s boyfriend, 39-year-old Isauro Aguirre, admitted to beating him to death. He was then charged with first-degree murder.
In the Netflix series, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, we follow the legal proceedings of his case along with the jury’s deliberations about whether or not Aguirre intended to kill. Aguirre was convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of intentional murder by torture in November 2017. In 2018 Aguirre was sentenced to death.
He was admitted to the San Quentin State Prison in California on the same day as his sentencing and he remains there now. He is on death row, but his official death date has not yet been announced.
When Aguirre and Pearl were sentenced the judge called their crimes “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil”.
Arnold Contreras – Gabriel’s real father
Arnold Contreras is Gabriel’s biological father. He appears in the Netflix documentary, The Trials Of Gabriel Fernandez, and is shown as a loving father. He was incarcerated at the time of his son’s murder, serving time at the Riverside County jail in California. Arnold Contreras took to the stand during Isauro’s sentencing trial. He said he feels guilt for not being able to help his son, telling the court he wishes he could say to his son “sorry for not being there”. He heard the news by being told in prison that his son’s life support was going to switched off the next day.
According to his Facebook, Gabriel’s dad is now living in Pacoima, California. He is not in prison any more, and his profile is filled with pictures of him and his son.
Ezequiel and Virginia – Gabriel’s brother and sister
Gabriel had two siblings, both older than him, called Ezequiel and Virginia. His siblings witnessed some of his abuse and Gabriel’s brother, Ezequiel, found a note in which Gabriel said to his mother: “I love you so much that I will die.” Both Ezequiel and Virginia testified in Isauro Aguirre’s murder trial. Ezequiel was 16 when he gave evidence and Virgina was 14. There is no evidence that either of Gabriel’s siblings suffered abuse.
In court, they said their brother was spending almost all of his days and nights in “the cubby” and Ezequiel said he sometimes tried to crack open the padlocked door to sneak Gabriel a banana. He said his mother and her boyfriend would threaten him if he didn’t join in with beating Gabriel. Ezequiel said he encouraged Gabriel to quickly fall to the floor when he hit him, to avoid the torture going on.
On the night of the 999 call after Isauro Aguirre had beaten Gabriel, it is reported that Virginia was found “frozen on the edge of her bed”. Virginia told the court their mother had made Gabriel eat cat poo and that he had been chased with a BB gun.
Virginia and Ezequiel now live with a relative in another state. Some reports say they are living with their grandparents. In 2014, Ezequiel and Virginia were part of a lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles, among other services in the city, for damages. It is believed the lawsuit was settled, together with a suit filed by Gabriel Fernandez’s grandparents, for $2.6 million and was split among multiple parties.
Michael Lemos Carranza and David Martinez – Gabriel’s uncle and his partner
Three days after Pearl gave birth to Gabriel he was given to his uncle, Michael Lemos Carranza. Gabriel’s mother had said she didn’t want the child, so Michael had convinced to her to have the baby, and then give custody to him and his partner David.
Gabriel stayed in their custody for around four years, before other members of the family raised concerns about Gabriel being raised by gay men. Gabriel had said he loved Michael and David, and then accusations of sexual abuse were made and Gabriel was given to his grandparents. Michael and David denied abuse claims, and said their lives with Gabriel had been happy and loving and they referred to him as their son.
Michael and David were not allowed to see Gabriel when his life support machine was turned off. In a rally after Gabriel’s death, Michael spoke against the social workers, saying: “The social workers were there. And what did they do? They closed their eyes and didn’t see nothing.”
Michael died in 2014 aged 58, just 16 months after Gabriel. David Martinez, who features in the documentary, was deported from the US and now lives in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador.
Robert and Sandra Fernandez – Gabriel’s grandparents
After Gabriel’s grandfather Robert said he didn’t want Gabriel to raised by two gay men, Gabriel went to live with his grandparents alongside his siblings. Gabriel lived with Robert and Sandra Fernandez until around October 2012. He was then taken by Pearl and Isauro, allegedly for financial reasons – so they could claim child support. During the murder trial Robert expressed that Gabriel had said he wanted to “come home” and be back with his grandparents.
After Gabriel’s death, Robert and Sandra Fernandez filed a claim against Los Angeles Country, the LA DCFS, Gabriel’s school district, the sheriff’s office and other organisations which were involved in the case. It has been reported that this case doesn’t seem to have gone to court.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.