LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Relatives of 4-year-old Noah Cuatro, who died in 2019, filed a wrongful death suit against Los Angeles County.
The death, initially reported as a drowning, resulted in criminal charges being filed against Noah’s parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr., 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 26. The pair was indicted on on count each of murder and torture in the boy’s death almost one year ago.
The boy’s great-grandmother, Evangelina Hernandez, filed the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit on behalf of herself and Noah’s sister and two brothers, who are all minors.
According to the suit, Hathaway-Sycamores knew of or suspected the abuse and misconduct occurring in Noah’s home after the boy was sent to the agency by the county Department of Children and Family Services for mental health services, but failed to report the abuse.
The suit also alleges that DCFS failed to protect Noah after multiple reports of abuse had already been made.
“Instead of protecting Noah and his siblings, DCFS continued to place the children with their abusive parents, where the children continued to be abused over the course of several years,” the suit alleges.
In a previously released statement, DCFS said, in part:
“At any given time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to pursue child safety every day in our communities. Our 9,000 employees are committed to this mission, and we look to do everything possible to safeguard the children entrusted to our care.”
The suit further alleges that, after Noah’s death, DCFS social workers made threats against Hernandez “in an attempt to silence her,” by telling her that if she made any public statements about the case or potential lawsuits, her request for guardianship of Noah’s siblings would be denied and she would never see them again.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)