A four-year-old Palmdale boy was allegedly tortured and killed last year by his own parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr., 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 26. Both parents were indicted in January of one count of murder and torture each. The father was also charged with one count of assault on a child causing death and another count of sexual penetration of a child under 10. The indictment indicated that the count of sexual penetration occurred the day the boy was attacked and killed.
The mother was also charged with an additional count of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause death.
The boy’s great-grandmother, Evangelina Cuatro, who brought the case, claimed that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services failed to timely remove the boy from his parents’ custody, and this directly led to his death.
An investigation in the boy’s death found that the boy had not accidentally drowned like it initially seemed, but that he was murdered and tortured prior to his death.
The lawsuit also claimed that despite several abuse reports filed with the DCFS, the agency failed to remove the children from the care of their parents, who then continued to abuse the children for years.
In a statement, the DCFS said that they serve more than 34,000 families and defenseless children in Los Angeles County and are committed in pursuing child safety every day in our communities.