Netflix's The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is the platform’s newest addition to the true crime genre.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez follows the heartbreaking story of Gabriel Fernandez, a young boy from Los Angeles who was brutally abused by his mother and her boyfriend. In 2013, the eight-year-old was found naked in his family home, suffering from a litany of injuries that included a cracked skull, shattered ribs, and severe burns. Authorities also discovered BB pellets embedded into different parts of his body. The child was rushed to the hospital, but after two days of medical care, Gabriel passed away.
His mother Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre were arrested and, when the couple was questioned, they admitted they had intentionally brutalized the young child. Gabriel’s mother pled guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Aguirre was charged and convicted of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of intentional murder by torture.
The Netflix docu-series follows the traumatic investigation into the eight months of abuse that led Gabriel’s death as well as the emotional trial that followed. The couple were not the only people facing charges; four social workers were also accused of child abuse and falsifying records due to their failure to remove Gabriel from his abusive home. Probing into the case revealed that the local Department of Children & Family Services was aware of the abuse that the child was suffering from but did little to support him.
“How did a child who showed so many signs of repeated and longterm abuse slip through the cracks?” the show’s trailer demands.
Director Brian Knappenberger seeks to the answer that very question with this true crime docu-series, speaking with Gabriel's family and friends as well as the legal team assigned to the tragic case to discover just how the eight-year-old was so neglected — and to make sure that something this horrible never happens again.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez will be available for streaming on February 26.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.