Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Gabriel Fernandez is a name I had never heard until recently, and that makes me so sad, but during this time I was eleven so I wouldn't have understood much anyways.
When I randomly came upon this story on Twitter I was so mind blown and speechless, the trailer was to a new documentary about an 8-year old boy who was murdered by his parents.
As the trailer played it shows how this boy, Gabriel Fernandez, for eight months was tortured and abused by his mother and her boyfriend which, ultimately, ended in his death in 2013. During the eight months, social workers were brought onto the case and all his signs went unnoticed which led people to question the system dealing with vulnerable kids. Not only did they prosecute the mother and her boyfriend but also the social workers who were involved in his case.
All it took was a trailer for the Netflix documentary series and I was hooked, hooked yet very sensitive to topics like this so I didn't look into it much, I just waited for the documentary to release. Once this documentary was available I was very hesitant to watch, never have I watched a trailer that interested me so much yet gave me a weird feeling.
Soon I told my best friend about this and we agreed to watch it, but only when we were with each other because both of us were nervous. The first few episodes were okay, she cried, but I didn't. Yes, it was hard to watch, I covered my face a few times, but I was okay. A few days went by and she said she watched an episode without me so I just caught up one day in fifth period. I got to class and I started to play the episode and then the episode carried on into sixth period. Halfway through the episode, I don't want to spoil it, but it got really into detail and I almost cried in class. I turned off my phone.
As soon as I got out of class I told my best friend I didn't want to finish the documentary, just with that one episode. It was crazy, that whole day it was on my mind, I felt so bad about something I had no control over. Even when it would pop up on Twitter I’d scroll down, it just left me with a helpless feeling. After that episode, I never finished the documentary, until quarantine.
I recommended the show to one of my friends at 1 a.m. He agreed to watch it and I said as soon as he got to the episode I last stopped on I would finish the rest with him. A few 15 minutes later he texted me, not even in the middle of the first episode, saying it was already too much and he felt uneasy.
Spoiler, he cried. Around 3 a.m., very hesitantly, I started the fourth episode with him. The last two episodes were the worst, but what kept me watching was wanting to see the mom and her boyfriend getting sentenced.
The whole show, regardless of how hard it was to watch, I would 1000% recommend it to anyone. The emotions and plot twists are crazy, but in the end justice is served. It really opens your eyes to how messed up the system is and how much children lose their lives due to other social workers not doing their jobs. The whole thing made me so soft to little kids and even made me want to protect my little brother even more.
I have nothing but love for little Gabriel Fernandez and nothing but disgust for every social worker in his case, everyone who noticed him and kept quiet, the schools and his guardians.
After crying at almost 5 a.m., over a case not anywhere in my hands, I won't ever forget his name when I hear it or see it anywhere.
Rest In Peace, Gabriel Fernandez.