Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


Father Didn't Get Counseling He Needed Before Killing His Three Sons

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A father who fatally stabbed his three sons in September did not receive the court-ordered grief counseling that he needed before the killings occurred.After Luis Fuentes was charged with capital murder for the killing of his three boys—Luis, Juan, and Alexander, who ranged in ages from 8 to 10, in the car they were living out of—the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched an internal investigation into whether or not social workers had adequately responded to reports of abuse from their household. Almost 700 pages of records released to the L.A. Times under a court order show that in 2010, Fuentes had become "anxious, nervous and depressed" and was in need of counseling.

"Father feels that counseling will not be beneficial to him because it will force him to remember when all he wants is to forget," caseworkers told a court in 2010, after they determined that Fuentes had bruised his then-5-year-old son, Luis, with a belt. "The potential for father to lose control again is present and likely."

The records show that Fuentes had a troubled past he wasn't willing to confront. His father was killed when he was 5 and his mother died when he was 17, and he was left to take care of his three younger siblings as a result. In 2008, his wife, the mother of Fuentes' three slain sons, died of a brain aneurysm. After several anonymous callers reported that Fuentes was abusing the boys in 2010 the family was placed under supervision for a year. Only one instance of abuse was verified—the aforementioned belt beating.

The court ordered Fuentes to participate in services such as grief counseling and parenting classes. The records show that Fuentes only attended one grief-counseling session, but caseworkers closed the case in 2011 after they found he was "in partial compliance."

Support for LAist comes from

DCFS had no further interaction with the boys until 2014, when they received a call on child abuse hotline on April 9 of that year. Family members denied any abuse was happening in the home, despite repeated visits and questioning by caseworkers and doctors.

A spokesman for DCFS told the Times that no caseworkers would be disciplined for their handling of the Fuentes family's case.