The family of the Echo Park boy found dead in a closet was reported to DCFS six times prior to the boys death.
When police arrived at the home on Monday, they said the boy appeared to have been dead for hours.
Two teachers reported the 11-year-old boy to DCFS in 2012 for general neglect and physical abuse days apart from each other.
DCFS Director Philip L. Browning said social workers did a good job interviewing people close to the boy.
Last Monday, the body of 11-year-old Yonatan Daniel Aguilar was found in a closet at his mother’s Echo Park home. The young boy’s body had been wrapped in a blanket and placed in the closet. By the time paramedics arrived, it was too late to save the child. New information shows that DCFS could have prevented this boys death.
Officers said Yonatan appeared to have laid in the closet for hours before his body was discovered. An initial investigation showed signs of malnourishment and physical abuse.
Yonatan’s stepfather Jose Pinzon told police that the boy’s mother told him she had killed the child. Pinzon was reported to lead officers to the boy’s body once they arrived.
Yonatan Aguilar’s mother was charged Thursday with murder and child abuse.
On Thursday, Yonatan’s mother, 39-year-old Veronica Aguilar, was charged with murder and child abuse for the death of her son. Aquilar is being held on $2 million bail. If convicted, Aguilar faces a maximum sentence of 15-years to life in state prison.
Aguilar has three other children, who were not at the house on Monday when Yonatan’s body was found. The three siblings, age 14, 16, and 18, were tracked down and contacted by police. The two minors were released to DCFS custody.
On Monday, Aug 29, the LA County Coroner’s Office announced that the autopsy is under a security hold by law enforcement. At this time, no details related to the time of death, or the condition of the child can be released.
Reports against Yonatan’s family to the DCFS go back to 2002.
New information reported by the LA Times that shows Yonatan’s family had been reported to DCFS six separate times before the young boy’s death.
Details of the six prior reports were released under court ordered from Judge Michael Levanas of the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Juvenile Division. The DCFS department director Philip L. Browning went into further detail on those reports.
Yonatan had not yet been born when the original two reports happened in 2002.
Two of the reports against the family were said to be made in 2002, which was before Yonatan was born. Browning said that the 2002 reports involved at least one of Yonatan’s siblings.
Yonatan was a special education student. Browning stated that Yonatan saw a school psychologist, going on to claim that the boy may have had behavioral issues.
In 2009, and 2011, two reports were made on Yonatan’s behalf, but both were dismissed.
In 2009, Browning said that DCFS received a report from the police about physical abuse. Yonatan’s school made the report to the police. Browning claims that social workers interviewed a school nurse, the principal, and the school psychologist following that report.
Browning stated that after DCFS had conducted their interviews, and the LAPD investigated the report, it was determined that no abuse had occurred. At that time it was decided a full investigation was not necessary.
The second report came in 2011, this time from a hospital social worker. Browning stated that the social worker suffered from general neglect.
General neglect is the negligent failure of a parent/guardian or caretaker to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or supervision where no physical injury to the child has occurred. Severe neglect refers to those situations of neglect where the child’s health is endangered, including severe malnutrition.
Browning said that social workers interviewed doctors and a clinical therapist before deciding they would not open a case. At this point, the Aguilar family had been reported four times to DCFS in less than 10-years.
In 2012, two teachers made reports to the DCFS just days apart from each other.
In 2012, DCFS received two reports, just days apart, from two teachers. One teacher reported that Yonatan was suffering from general neglect. The second person to make the claim in less than 2-years. The other teacher reported a black eye that Yonatan had. That would be the second time somebody reported possible physical abuse against Yonatan.
DCFS interviewed school faculty and staff from the health care provider Kaiser Permanente. A soccer coach and a special education teacher were two of the faculty members interviewed, Browning said. He also noted that the black eye was cross-reported to LAPD.
Yonatan later claimed that the black eye did not come from abuse. Instead, the boy claimed he got the black eye from falling into a rock pile while playing soccer. Social workers spoke with the soccer coach who could not verify Yonatan’s story. Once again, it was determined Yonatan was living in a safe environment, and no further investigation was necessary.
Browning says social workers did a good job.
Four years after Yonatan’s abuse was reported to DCFS four times, he is dead. Browning claims that it is no fault of the social workers involved.
In fact, Browning’s department is conducting an internal investigation and said the social workers involved with Yonatan did a good job at interviewing people who had contact with him, and interviewing the boy away from his parents.
That is hard to believe when two separate professionals reported Yonatan for general neglect, and two others for physical abuse and DCFS did nothing. An 11-year-old child was found dead after DCFS had multiple times to prevent this tragedy.
Police on the scene described the child as severely underweight. Yonatan was said to have old wounds and healed injuries that looked as if he had been suffering from long-term abuse. .