I’m a big fan of crime documentaries, so when I saw “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” on Netflix I was immediately intrigued. However, I was quickly horrified to learn it was the tragic story of the disgusting, brutal abuse and murder of an 8-year-old boy.
The case occurred in 2013, when Gabriel Fernandez was rushed to the hospital where he later died. We learn of the extensive, unimaginable injuries decorating his body.
As we learn of the short life of Fernandez, the flaws within the Los Angeles County Child and Family Protective Services are brought to light. Because of their lack of action, an innocent child died. They were repeatedly informed of his abuse and did nothing.
The six-part documentary series follows the trials of Gabriel’s mother, her boyfriend and the four social workers who handled his case. The judicial system sentenced the boyfriend with the death penalty, the mother with life in prison and the four social workers were found not guilty.
As I watched this series, I was disgusted not only with the adults who knowingly harmed this child for months but with the system that allowed this to happen.
There were countless times where I had to pause the series to mentally and emotionally regroup because I was unable to process all the emotions running through my mind. it is unimaginable to comprehend anyone so young and innocent enduring that much pain.
Despite the struggle to watch, it was so well put together that I felt like I was I experienced everything from tears to goosebumps throughout the series. It’s more than just a timeline, it’s a tell-all, and they do such an elegant job of weaving the two together.
This series brings to light the shortcomings of an entire division of government employees whose job is to protect children. This case was about more than one boy; it’s about the children who continue to silently suffer as a result of faulty protective services.
Watching this reminded me that I am lucky to have received the childhood I did, but more importantly it is a reminder of the public’s duty to hold those in positions of power, especially public servants, responsible for their actions.
No living being, especially a child, ever deserves to suffer the way Gabriel Fernandez did.
Warning: “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez” deals with tops of domestic violence and abuse and shows graphic images.