The great-grandmother of a California boy whose parents have been accused of torturing and murdering the four-year-old has filed a wrongful death suit, accusing Los Angeles County children’s services and a nonprofit of ignoring multiple reports of abuse.
Jose Maria Cuatro Jr, 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 25, were charged in January with murder and torture in July 2019, with their son Noah died.
Cuatro is also accused of sexually assaulting the boy several hours before his death and then falsely claiming that the child had drowned in a communal pool.
The great-grandmother of four-year-old Noah Cuatro (left), who was reportedly tortured and murdered by his parents, Jose Maria Cuatro Jr, 28, and Ursula Elaine Juarez, 25 (pictured), filed a wrongful death suit against child services
Eva Hernandez’s complaint accuses the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services of ignoring multiple reports of abuse
Eva Hernandez, Noah’s great-grandmother who had cared for him for two years before he was sent back to his parents, filed a civil lawsuit on Wednesday against the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services on behalf of herself and the three surviving siblings of the victim .
The complaint cited by KTLA alleges that the service has failed to comply with a court order to remove Noah from his parents’ custody which led directly to his death, even after receiving multiple reports of abuse.
“Rather than protecting Noah and his siblings, DCFS continued to place the children with their abusive parents, where the children were abused for several years,” the court claims.
The lawsuit also lists as a defendant Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, a nonprofit that has partnered with the county that provides mental health care.
According to the great-grandmother’s complaint, Hathaway-Sycamores was aware of, or suspected, the abuse at Noah’s house after the boy was sent to mental health services by DCFS, “but did not report the abuse.”
The couple called 911 on July 5, 2019, saying their 4-year-old son nearly drowned in this pool in their apartment complex in Palmdale, California.
Cuatro and Juarez are both accused of murdering their son on July 5, 2019, in their Palmdale apartment.
“Jose Cuatro is said to have sexually assaulted his son on the same date,” said a prosecutor statement.
In the course of four months prior to Noah’s murder, the parents allegedly tortured the child according to the charges.
Cuatro and Juarez took him to the hospital on the afternoon of July 5, claiming he nearly drowned in the pool of their apartment complex.
But medical personnel quickly became suspicious after finding signs of trauma on the four-year-old’s body. Noah died the next day at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Just days after his death, Noah’s great-grandmother spoke with multiple newscasts and told reporters that Noah had been taken out of his parents’ care a number of times, starting when he was just a baby.
The parents allegedly tortured Noah in the course of four months prior to his murder. The lawsuit alleges that social workers have failed to comply with a court order to remove Noah from the authority of his parents
He had spent the first few months of his life in and outside of foster care before Hernandez was able to take him into custody after six months, after Juarez was accused of breaking “ the skull of a child she was related to, ” according to the filing.
DCFS is said to have substantiated the allegation of violence, but nevertheless placed Noah with his parents.
But just a year later, Jose and Ursula lost custody again, with officials finding that Noah had been neglected.
Police records said he was so malnourished that he couldn’t walk.
After another stay with a foster home, Hernandez took care of him for two years until November 2018, when he returned to his parents for the last time despite his desperate pleas.
“I said to the social workers,” Please, he doesn’t want to leave. He wants to stay here. He begged me, “said Hernandez. KTLA. “He held me and said,” Don’t send me back, Grandma. ‘ I do not know. There was nothing I could do. I just had to send it back. ‘
Noah was sent back to his parents in November 2018, and Hernandez cried that by the time she saw him again six months later, the little boy clearly needed help.
Between March and April 2019, several reports of alleged child abuse involving Noah came to light, with one reporting that the child had gone to hospital with bruises on his back.
The following month, a manager filed a 26-page request to remove Noah from Jose and Ursula prison again, after allegations that the boy’s father had kicked Ursula and their children in public.
Hernandez previously said that Noah had been in and out of foster homes since birth and begged her in 2018 not to return to his parents
Although a judge had granted the request, Noah was never returned to the foster home.
The lawsuit alleges that DCFS “deliberately” ignored the request and court order, leaving Noah with his parents, despite the agent’s own assessment that he was at “very high” risk.
“If the defendants had said that they complied with their compulsory and statutory duty of care, Noah Cuatro would have suffered no damage and / or continue to suffer damage,” the complaint said.
The DCFS previously released a statement about Noah’s death, which read in part: “At any time, the Department of Children and Family Services serves more than 34,000 families and vulnerable children in Los Angeles County with an unwavering commitment to child safety every day in our communities. ‘
The lawsuit further alleges that after Noah’s death, Hernandez’s executives, outspoken in her criticism of DCFS, threatened “in an effort to silence her.”
According to the complaint, the social workers told Hernandez that if she made public statements about Noah’s case or spoke of possible legal action, she would lose her request for custody of Noah’s sister and two brothers and never see them again.
Cuatro and Juarez were charged with murder and torture in February.
The father is also faced with one count of every child abuse that causes death and sexual penetration with a child under 10 years of age, while Juarez undergoes an additional child abuse count under circumstances that could cause death.
If Cuatro is convicted during a trial, he will live up to 47 years in state prison and Juarez could face up to 32 years in prison.