The Netflix docuseries The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez has sparked debate on the systematic failure to properly address child abuse cases similar to Gabriel Fernandez. Noah Cuatro, a 4-year-old boy from Palmdale, California, suffered comparable traumatic abuse. In order to shed light on the institutional flaws of the child welfare system, the documentary demonstrated how Fernandez was not alone.
What Happened to Noah Cuatro?
Cuatro spent most of his childhood being passed off to family members and social workers. During the first three months of his life, Cuatro lived in foster care until his great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, took him in for six months. He was taken in and out of the custody of his parents due to neglect. He spent the last eight months of his life in his parents’ care, where he allegedly suffered a great deal of abuse.
Who Are Noah Cuatro’s Parents?
Jose Maria Cuatro Jr. and Ursula Elaine Juarez are the parents of the young child. On September 30, 2019, both his mother and father were charged with one count of murder and torture following Curatro’s death. His father faces an additional charge of sexual penetration of a child under 10. Their bail was set at $3 million each and both face a maximum sentence of 32 years to life if convicted. They were indicted in January 2020. According to the indictment, the alleged sexual penetration incident took place the same day Cuatro died.
Despite the evidence against them, Juarez’s mother, Sylvia Juarez, still fully supports her daughter and refutes the allegations. “My daughter was a good mother to her kids, and she never hurt her kids and she never raised her voice or her hands to her kids,” she said in a statement. “I don’t care what anybody says — that’s my daughter. She’s innocent.”
How Did Noah Cuatro Die?
On July 5, 2019, his parents called 911 to report their son had drowned. He was taken to the Palmdale Regional Medical Center where he was then transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. He was pronounced dead on July 6, 2019.
Upon further inspection, it appeared that the trauma inflicted on his body was not consistent with that of a natural drowning. The examination revealed he had several fractured bones, lacerations and showed signs of rape. Authorities ruled the case to be a homicide.
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