Netflix’s The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez documented every harrowing angle that led to eight-year-old Gabriel’s death in 2013. The docuseries reveals how the system failed to protect Gabriel, who was tortured and abused to death by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. The show has led many to ask where was Gabriel’s biological father while the child was going through the whole ordeal. Arnold Contreras is Pearl’s ex and the father of her children. Over the course of the trials, his pain at being unable to save his son has become known, and he’s had an important task after his son’s brutal death. This Arnold Contreras wiki answers the important questions about Gabriel Fernandez’s father.
|About Arnaldo Jose Guadalupe Contreras|
|Known As||Arnold Contreras|
|Birth||August 6, 1981|
|Height||5 feet 8 inches|
|Children||Gabriel Fernandez, Ezequiel, Virginia|
|Parents||Rodrigo Contreras, Placida Contreras|
Arnold Contreras Was in and out of Jail
Born Arnaldo Jose Guadalupe Contreras on August 6, 1981, he hails from Pacoima, Kern County in California. He often went by Arnold Contreras, and was known as such in the media.
His parents, Placida and Rodrigo Contreras, had taken the stand in court and testified through an interpreter. He also has a brother, Christopher Contreras.
Arnold has a long criminal history and had multiple run-ins with the law. He had been in and out of county jail and couldn’t be present in his children’s lives.
He had three children, Virginia, Ezequiel, and Gabriel, with Palmdale resident Pearl Fernandez. Pearl reportedly had no interest in raising her kids, but Arnold’s prison stints meant he couldn’t have custody of his kids, either.
Pearl would initially have other relatives, including her parents, Robert and Sandra Fernandez, raise her kids. Her uncle, Michael Lemos, raised Gabriel until he was four, and then the grandparents got custody.
Pearl would take Virginia and Ezequiel with her in 2009, but Gabriel remained with his grandparents until he was seven. Until one day, Aguirre took Gabriel away from the Fernandezes’ home and Pearl later got custody of him in 2012.
In his testimony, Contreras revealed he was against Pearl taking custody of Gabriel. He fondly described Gabriel as an energetic, kind, smiling kid, and said Pearl never showed any love for him.
Arnold’s parents, as did other relatives of Pearl, had testified that they’d seen her get physically abusive with Arnold, as well as Isauro.
Contreras Couldn’t See Gabriel before He Died
Fernandez and Aguirre had Gabriel for eight months, during which they abused him cruelly. On May 22, 2013, Fernandez called emergency responders claiming that Gabriel was unresponsive after falling and hitting his head on a dresser.
However, emergency responders saw clear evidence that Gabriel had been beaten, punched, burned, and assaulted with belts and BB guns. They rushed him to a hospital where he was declared brain-dead. Gabriel passed away on May 24, 2013 at the age of eight.
When the incident was reported in the media, and when the Netflix docuseries premiered, the recurring question was, where was Gabriel’s father in all this? Many Netflix users wondered if Gabriel’s father is dead.
Arnold Contreras is still alive and mourning that he couldn’t save his son. At the time Gabriel was tortured to death, he was in Riverside County Jail for robbery and possession.
“The chaplain pulled me out, said he was on life support, and that they were going to take him off the next day,” Contreras detailed of the day he learned of Gabriel’s condition in his testimony. He went on to say he “should’ve been there” when Gabriel died.
He said he wasn’t allowed to visit Gabriel in the hospital or say goodbye. It’s unclear if he attended Gabriel’s funeral.
Contreras Sued the County for Gabriel’s Death
Gabriel’s grandparents and relatives had reported over 60 complaints against Pearl and Isauro. However, the DCFS case workers had neglected to take Gabriel out of the custody of his abusers.
His death was seen as a failure of the system that was supposed to protect children like Gabriel. That led to the Contreras family, including Arnold and his surviving children and parents, filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Pearl and Isauro, Children and Family Services and Public Social Services, the Sheriff ’s Department, and the Palmdale School District.
Gabriel’s abusers were found guilty of first-degree murder. Pearl Fernandez was sentenced to life without parole in 2018. Isauro Aguirre was given the death penalty and now spends his days on death row.
Four social workers were fired and indicted for falsifying records in Gabriel’s case. They, however, were not sentenced.
Where Is Arnold Contreras Now?
While Fernandez and Aguirre were on trial, Gabriel’s father and siblings had testified in court. It appears that at that time, Contreras’ family had stepped up to take care of Gabriel’s siblings.
Contreras’ brother, Christopher Contreras, is a military veteran who told the media that the state the child was in was worse than what he had seen in wars. The family had decided to have Gabriel cremated because they couldn’t bear to see him “like that.”
Christopher and his wife adopted two of Gabriel’s siblings, Virginia and Ezequiel. He said that the two children had been suffering from guilt over what happened to their little brother.
Arnold Contreras’ Facebook hasn’t been active since 2017, and his Instagram is no longer available. From the looks of it, he had been working in a tattoo shop in his hometown in 2017.
His social media pages also show photos of him with his children, including older pictures of Gabriel. The pictures show Gabriel during happier times when he was with his father and siblings.
Sadly, Contreras’ run-ins with the law haven’t ceased. The latest records show that he went to Calipatria State Prison in February 2019 for a non-violent offense. He was eligible for parole in June 2019, but the status of his release is not known yet.