True crime documentaries, even when they’re grisly and disturbing, always make an interesting watch. The same can be said for the new Netflix docuseries The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, which follows the horrific death of an 8-year-old boy and the trial of his killers, who just so happen to be his mother and her boyfriend. This one is so heartbreaking that it almost feels impossible to watch sometimes, which it’s why it’s so important that we do.
- Gabriel Fernandez suffered a terrible fate. While your parents are the people who should love and care for you, protecting you from all harm. Unfortunately, it became very clear when the little boy died in 2013 that his life had been full of the complete opposite. Not only did his mother and her boyfriend fail to protect him, they purposely abused and tortured him until he died.
- The authorities saw what was happening and did nothing. Gabriel didn’t die after one incident. His abuse was sustained and long-term, and the protective services had been called out to their house many times. A huge number of Los Angeles Child Protective Services reports existed documenting the extensive abuse Gabriel faced and yet nothing was done. How could this be allowed to go on?
- No child (or anyone else) should have to go through what Gabriel Fernandez did. Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre subjected the child to everything from being shot with a BB gun to having cigarettes put out on him to beating him with belts until he bled and locking him in a cupboard in his mother’s bedroom. The details are laid bare in the Netflix docuseries and while they’ll undoubtedly turn your stomach, it’s important to his legacy that the truth is heard.
- This is a difficult thing to watch but it’s handled with care. While it may seem somewhat voyeuristic to hear the lurid details of Gabriel Fernandez’s story, Netflix has done an amazing job with ensuring the series is handled with respect, care, and extreme honesty. If you can stomach it, it will make a breathtaking watch.