Isauro Aguirre, also known as Tony Aguirre, was born on June 13, 1980. Aguirre repeated two grades in school and ultimately dropped out, implying a possible learning disability.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez was born on August 29, 1983 to Robert and Sandra Fernandez.
Gabriel Fernandez (also spelled Gabrieal) was born on February 20, 2005 to Arnold Contreras and Pearl Fernandez.
In 2012, Pearl Fernandez, the biological mother of Gabriel Fernandez, was given child custody of Gabriel, reportedly to gain welfare benefits. She was given custody in spite of concerns from her family, who had been taking care of Gabriel, that she was neglectful towards other children. Fernandez then was moved in with his mother and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre.
While in the household of Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre for eight months, Gabriel Fernandez was systematically abused and tortured. The abuse included being forced to eat cat litter and feces, forced to eat his own vomit, regularly beaten which caused broken bones, burned in various parts of the body, shot in various areas of the body including the face and groin with a BB gun, forced to wear female clothing, forced to sleep bound and gagged in a small cupboard, pepper sprayed, burned with cigarettes, given cold baths, and forced to eat spoiled or expired food. According to Fernandez's siblings, while Fernandez was being abused his parents would laugh. Aguirre reportedly abused Fernandez because he believed he was homosexual; there is no evidence that Fernandez was in fact homosexual. The abuse did not extend to Fernandez's siblings.
In October 2012, Aguirre began working as a security guard for AVL Private Security; through AVL he worked at the Vallarta Market in Palmdale, California. Aguirre met Pearl Fernandez roughly a year and a half to two years before they took custody of Gabriel Fernandez. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall.
On May 22, 2013, Pearl Fernandez called 9-1-1 to report that her child, Gabriel Fernandez, was not breathing.
On May 23, 2013, Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre were arrested; Fernandez was arrested for felony child endangerment while Aguirre was arrested for attempted murder.
Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where doctors declared him brain dead. Gabriel passed away two days later on May 24, 2013 at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
On December 11, 2017 jury deliberation began for the sentencing phase. The next day the jury was deadlocked; however, on December 13 they decided to recommend the death penalty, which was accepted by Judge George G. Lomeli.
Pearl Fernandez plead guilty on February 15, 2018 to her charge as part of a plea deal to avoid the death penalty, and was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Aguirre was charged with first degree murder with special circumstances of torture for murdering Gabriel Fernandez. He pleaded not guilty; however, the jury found him guilty and recommended he be sentenced to death, which was accepted by Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli. Aguirre was admitted to San Quentin State Prison on June 13, 2018, where he is currently awaiting execution.
Currently, Pearl Fernandez is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for first degree murder with special circumstances of torture at Central California Women's Facility. Pearl was admitted to the facility on June 21, 2018.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is a six-part crime documentary that premiered on Netflix in 2020. Directed by Brian Knappenberger, the documentary details the murder of Gabriel Fernandez.