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3 Brothers Killed In South L.A. Were Subjects Of Abuse Investigation
The three brothers found fatally stabbed in South L.A. this week were previously the subjects of several child abuse investigations. As more details surrounding the crime emerge, the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services are launching their own internal investigation to determine whether their social workers properly responded to these allegations.
In March 2010, the DCFS hotline received a tip claiming that the Fuentes brothers were being physically abused, the LA Times reports. While this initial investigation was found to be inconclusive and dropped, the same hotline received a similar call months later, in September 2010. This time, social workers found that the claims of abuse were, in fact, true, but it was never brought to court. For the next year, the boys remained in the custody of their father—and prime suspect of the murders—Luis Fuentesbefore the case was dropped altogether.
Again, in April 2014, the same DCFS hotline received two more calls alleging abuse, but dismissed the case as "inconclusive" in October. That was the last of DCFS' involvement with the Fuentes family, with the exception of "at least one" call to the police about an undisclosed argument.
The DCFS is currently entrenched in another investigation over former social worker Gregory Merritt, who was fired in 2013 after his client, 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was murdered by his mother.
Fuentes was booked on Friday on suspicion of murder.