WARNING: The following story may be distressing for some. 

It’s been ranked at the top of Netflix’s ‘most popular programs’ list for the past week, but the Netflix docuseries ‘Trials of Gabriel Fernandez’ has left viewers feeling physically sick.

The true crime series tells the harrowing story of an eight-year-old boy’s murder and the child protection system that let him down. To put things in perspective, Gabriel’s heartbreaking story was so shocking that it prompted the show’s producers to see therapists.

Over the course of eight months, Gabriel Fernandez was subjected to unspeakable torture, which included regular beatings, being shot in the face with a BB gun, locked in a cupboard for hours, being forced to eat cat litter, and regularly pepper sprayed.

In May 2013, paramedics arrived at his home in California after a call from his mother reporting an incident. He was found unconscious and subsequently rushed to hospital.

On arrival, doctors discovered the boy’s skull fractured in two places, three ribs broken, his teeth knocked out, and his lungs and groin seriously injured by BB gun pellets. He was pronounced brain dead that day and taken off life support two days later.

It was later revealed that the torture and abuse inflicted upon him was by his mother and her boyfriend.


The docuseries follows the various investigations done by social workers, and questions why Gabriel was allowed to remain at the abusive home.

Viewers have taken to social media to express their fury at the way Gabriel’s case was dealt with.

“I feel no empathy for the social workers on #GabrielFernandez case. I am enraged over the negligence of not just his parents but the adults that surrounded him. It could’ve been prevented- There were so many opportunities,” one person wrote.



Another added: “Imagine having to continuously try to impress your mother so she would at least love you a little, only to be murdered instead. I have no words.”

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is currently streaming on Netflix.

Watch the trailer above.

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