THE GREAT-GRANDMOTHER of a four-year-old boy has filed a wrongful death suit after his parents were charged with torturing and killing the boy.
Eva Hernandez, the great-grandmother of Noah Cuatro, cared for the boy two years before he returning to his parents care after spending the first few months of his life in and our of foster care.
Noah Cuatro was tortured and killed by his parents in July 2019[/caption]
Noah’s parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr, 28 and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 25, were indicted in January on one count of murder and torture each related to the death of their son in July 2019.
Among the charges, Cuatro is accused of sexually assaulting Noah hours before his death.
Hernandez’s wrongful death suit has been filed against the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services on behalf of herself and Noah’s three siblings.
The complaint lists the agency failing to act on a court order to remove Noah from his parent’s custody, which directly lead to his death.
Jose Maria Cuatro Jr and Ursula Elaine Juarez were indicted in January on one count of murder and torture each[/caption]
It also alleges DCFS received multiple reports of the abuse.
The suit names Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, a non-profit organization that has worked with the county providing mental health services, as a defendant.
The complaint says the organization knew or suspected of the abuse happening but failed to report it.
According to the indictment towards Cuatro and Juarez, Noah was tortured by his parents over four months leading up to his death.
On July 5, his parents took him to the hospital claiming he nearly drowned in the swimming pool at their apartment complex.
However, medical staff found signs of trauma on the boy’s body, and he died the next day.
The complaint lists DCFS failing to act on a court order to remove Noah from his parent’s custody[/caption]
Hernandez told local news station KTLA that when he was returned to his parents, he begged to stay with his great-grandmother.
“He would hold on to me and say, ‘Don’t send me back, grandma.’ I don’t know. I couldn’t do anything. I just had to send him back,” she said.
Several reports of suspected child abuse involving Noah came to light in March and April 2019.
One report claimed he had gone to the hospital with bruising on his back.
Following those reports, a caseworker filed a request to remove Noah from his parents custody.
While the judge granted the request, he was never returned to foster care.
The complaint claims that caseworkers threatened Hernandez after Noah’s death, given she had been outspoken about DCFS[/caption]
Hernandez’s suit alleges that DCFS ignored the request, leaving Noah with his parents, despite being at ‘”very high” risk.
It complaint says that if they had fulfilled the request, Noah could not have been harmed or continued to be harmed.
Additionally, it claims that caseworkers threatened Hernandez after Noah’s death, given she had been outspoken about DCFS.
Social workers told her that if she made public statements about her great-grandson’s case or talked legal action, she would lose the request for guardianship of Noah’s siblings, according to the complaint.
DCFS is also under fire in the case of Anthony Avalos, 10, who was tortured and killed by his mother and her boyfriend.
In addition to the one count of murder and torture, Cuatro faces a count of assault on a child causing death and sexual penetration with a child under the age of 10.
Juarez faces an additional count of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause death.
Cuatro faces up to 47 years to life in prison and Juarez could face up up to 32 years to life in prison if convicted.
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