Murdered by neglect.
Jose and Ursula Cuatro, the parents of 4-year old Noah Cuatro, of Palmdale California told the police that their boy died due to drowning at a community pool, but an autopsy proved there was trauma to Noah's body that was inconsistent with drowning.
When Noah was placed in a temporary foster home that handles infants and toddlers in the foster care system who may need a higher level of medical care, the staff recorded that the child arrived malnourished and unable to walk. When he left the home, after seven months, to return to his parents, he was a thriving and happy child.
"He was such a joy," a staffer said. "He had this crazy wild brown hair and he was so joyful."
When the child died, he had been under active supervision by the DCFS after more then a dozen calls to the child-abuse hotline and police from people who said they suspected that the children in the home were being abused.
Noah was first removed from his mother care when he was an infant and placed into foster car. He was returned to his parents six months later. He was removed a short time later due to neglect and malnutrition.
After Noah was inexplicably returned to his parents a second time last November, his demeanor changed extremely, his great grandmother noted and a DCFS caseworker similarly remarked as much saying the child was suddenly withdrawn. In May, a caseworker finally filed a 26-page request to remove Noah from his parent’s custody for a third time, because Noah's father had kicked his wife and children in public. At one point, caseworkers confirmed an allegation that Ursula had fractured the skull of a girl related to her. The mother was not charged in that case due to lack of sufficient evidence. However, a DCFS employee, a supervisor at the county Department of Children and Family Services, appear to have disregarded a court decision to grant the boy’s removal from his parents’ custody in the weeks before his death, parents after a social worker filed a 26-page request with the court to do so, citing evidence of abuse. The abuse, according to DCFS, included allegations that Noah had been sodomized.
In 2013, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez of Palmdale died after years of torture and abuse at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, who were both later convicted of murder in his death. In that case, DCFS had determined nothing was wrong despite numerous contacts with the family and a call from his first-grade teacher. In 2017, two former DCFS social workers and supervisors were charged with felony child abuse and falsifying public records in connection with the Fernandez case.