Netflix’s The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez has shocked fans worldwide following its release on February 26.
Based on in-depth reporting by LA Times journalist Garrett Therolf, it chronicles how Gabriel – an eight-year-old boy – was subjected to horrific torture at the hands of his mother Pearl and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre.
The abuse came to an end in 2013, after his mother and her boyfriend beat him to death.
But although only six episodes were put out on the streaming site, the creator Brian Knappenberger believes there’s a lot more to the story to be told, and has hinted at a series two.
Here’s everything we know so far…
Will there be a series two of The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez?
It sounds like viewers could see another part of Gabriel Fernandez’s case.
In 2018, Brian Knappenberger stepped into a Los Angeles courtroom to tell the harrowing story about the young boy who died after suffering from malnourishment, torture, and abuse.
The six-part documentary ended with Gabriel’s mother Pearl – who is now serving life with no parole – getting her day in court and the jury reaching a verdict on Aguirre’s case, as he was sentenced to death row.
However, Brian believes it wasn’t as straight-forward as the six episodes documented and says there’s still so much more to the case that he’d like to explore, which could “lead to a series two”.
What will series two be about?
Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre (Netflix)
Brian feels two major pieces of the puzzle were missing – the voices of Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre.
Knappenberger says he gave Pearl and Aguirre – who are both incarcerated, with the latter awaiting execution – a special phone number where they could reach him, but they never called.
He hopes now the documentary has been released, one or both will reach out.
Speaking to EW, he said: “Yes, I still want to hear from them. It’s not like we created this television series and now we’re on to the next thing, moving on with our lives. This is something that is lodged in the heart of everybody that worked on it.”
He continued: “Part of it is a mystery. Like, who are these people? How did this happen? Why did this boy’s life get taken like this? There are still so many unanswered questions. So if they wanted to talk to me, I would absolutely talk to them on the record.”
Will there be more on the four social workers?
Another area Brian would like to explore is the social workers’ alleged involvement in the case.
Four social workers accused of being involved in Gabriel’s case were charged with child abuse and falsifying records.
Stefanie Rodriguez, then 34, and Patricia Clement, 69, and their supervisors, Kevin Bom, 40, and Gregory Merritt, 64, were accused of failing to protect the vulnerable minor.
However, the charges against the social workers were subsequently dropped in January 2020 by a panel of three justices at the 2nd district Court of Appeal in Los Angeles.
The Trials of Grabriel Fernandez (Netflix)
Commenting on this development, he continued: “We leave viewers with an update with where the case is now, which is that the case workers filed a motion to dismiss the case and Judge Lomeli rejected it. They appealed that decision, so they’re trying to have the case dismissed. The appellate court upheld it, so they kicked it back down to Judge Lomeli.
He added: “It was a victory for the social workers because the appellate court said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest they committed a crime. That’s where their case is right now. We’re waiting to see if the prosecutors then take this to the next level to the California Supreme Court; all that should happen within the next few weeks. This is still a very live story, so maybe this could lead to a season two?”
What happened in series one?
Pearl Fernandez, 29, made an appearance in Lancaster Superior Court. (Getty Images)
The first series documents the horrific story of Gabriel’s abuse, starting with his death in episode one, entitled “A Shock to the System,” to looking at the part his mother played, with one of Gabriel’s teachers recounting a series of calls to child services in “Failures at All Levels”.
It ends with “Gabriel’s Voice” – in which the LA county “assesses the cracks of a broken system, the jury reaches a verdict in Isauro’s case, and Pearl Fernandez has her date in court”.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is available to stream on Netflix now.