What happened to Arnold Contreras, the birth father of Gabriel Fernandez in The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez? The chilling six-part Netflix documentary series investigates the 2013 murder of an eight-year-old California boy, who’d previously been tortured by his eventual killers for several months. After the release of The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, streamers are naturally curious about the victim’s real father, along with any new developments.
Gabriel Fernandez was murdered by his own mother, Pearl, along with her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. In The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, the filmmakers briefly document the victim’s early years spent with his uncle Michael Lemos Carranza and partner David Martinez, and also the time he spent with his grandparents. Gabriel was essentially kidnapped in November 2012, but his mother was able to legally retain custody, thus setting in a motion a tragic sequence of events. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez on Netflix was directed by Brian Knappenberger, and explores the systemic injustices that prevented the Palmdale, CA, victim from receiving the necessary help.
After The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez released on Netflix in February 2020, various outlets reported on Contreras’ whereabouts based on his Facebook profile (which hasn’t been active since 2017). He was apparently living (or had lived) in Pacoima, CA, approximately 45 miles southwest of Gabriel’s former residence in Palmdale. Contreras has also been linked to an Instagram profile, which has since been deactivated, most likely to maintain a sense of privacy. However, Contreras does have an active Pinterest page.
Contreras is now 38 years old and is the father of Gabriel’s siblings, Ezequiel and Virginia – both of whom are referenced in The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. It’s been reported (via Heavy) that Contreras was arrested and jailed at Calipatria State Prison in February 2019; however his current location is unknown. Interestingly, Contreras briefly appears on camera during the third episode of The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, “Failure at All Levels.”
In the documentary, he testifies during Aguirre’s trial, and prosecutor Jon Hatami provides narration during the Netflix docuseries. He notes that “Arnold had gotten released from custody about year and a half ago, and he called me.” Hatami then recalls their first discussion, and that he realized that Gabriel’s father has been prosecuted, by his office, on “more than one occasion.” The prosecutor acknowledges an initial “lack of trust,” but notes that he and Contreras ultimately “hit it off.” During trial footage in The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, Contreras recalls the moment that he learned about his son’s death while incarcerated at Riverside County Jail.
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