LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — On the eve of the anniversary of his death, there are new developments in the investigation into the fatal beating of an 8-year-old.
A year ago Gabriel Fernandez was found beaten to death at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.
CBS2’s Cristy Fajardo has learned that some Sheriff’s Deputies have been disciplined in the case.
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After a year-long investigation, the Sheriff’s department confirmed to Fajardo that six deputies involved in the case have been disciplined.
“There wasn’t enough aggressive investigation [about the parents,]” said Sheriff John Scott.
Records showed that deputies were called to Gabriel’s home five times in the months leading up to his death.
Two of those calls involved suspected physical abuse, Fajardo reported. One of those calls came just weeks before his death. A security guard called officials to say that Gabriel’s face was “deformed and covered with bruises.”
“In one instance the child was asleep, or reportedly asleep, both those kinds of bruises, those kinds of injuries should be an awareness that there is something occurring that should not be occurring,” said Scott.
None of the deputies will be fired.
From records obtained from the Department of Children and Family Services, it appears the security guard’s account of Gabriel’s face was never reported to DCFS — a violation of State law and department policy.
Retired LA County Sergeant Dan Scott (no relation to John Scott) was asked if the Sheriff’s let Gabriel Fernandez down.
“Unfortunately, yes,” said Scott.
He was part of the blue ribbon commission put together in the wake of Gabriel’s death, formed to make recommendations on how to keep similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
“The Sheriff has to send the message to every captain, every lieutenant, commanders, chiefs … that child abuse is going to be taken seriously,” said Dan Scott, “Or, we’re going to end up with more Gabriel Fernandez’s.”
He says the Sheriff’s Department has agreed to improve training and to document all calls about abuse even if there is no evidence of a crime.
It’s unknown if such measures could have saved Gabriel Fernandez. But Fajardo reports he was often the victim or torture and intimidation.
Records show that in November 2012, the mother’s boyfriend flagged down an unsuspecting deputy and the boyfriend put Gabriel in the back of a squad car and told him that’s what it felt like to be a criminal.