A young boy was tortured for over three years before his eventual death. His mother locked him in a closet and sedated him with sleeping aids.
Veronica Aguilar, the mother, lied to her friends and family, telling them that her son Yonatan Aguilar had been sent to an institution in Mexico. The mother had three other children, two of which slept on a bed beside the closet.
According to reports obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the children knew that there brother was locked in the closet, but were forbidden by their mother to tell anyone.
In addition, some of the blame has to be put on those tasked with ensuring the boy’s well-being. Despite allegations of abuse, school officials, police, social workers, and therapists all failed to act and save the boy’s life.
The day of Yonatan’s death, Moses Castillo, the supervising LAPD detective on the case, asked the boy’s step father, Jose Pinzon, how he didn’t know that the boy was living there.
Pinzon maintained that he had no idea the boy was living there and, according to Castillo, he “immediately confronts the children that he had no idea that minor [Yonatan] was living in the house the whole time they were there,”
“How can you do this to me?” he asked.
You were always at work, so you didn’t know,” they responded.
Pinzon broke down into tears.
“I carry a photo of him in my wallet,” he said, according to the records. “I’m the only one that cared for him.”
On Aug. 22, Aguilar told Pinzon that Yonatan had died and she asked him to watch her children. Pinzon assumed that Aguilar was going to head to Mexico to bury her son.
However, it quickly turned gruesome when Aguilar led Pinzon to the closet and showed him the dead body of her son.
“I took care of the problem by ruining my life,” Aguilar told Pinzon.
Pinzon immediately left the house and dialed 911 at a nearby 7-11.
Aguilar faces murder charges and has pleaded not guilty.
R. Lawrence Tripp, Aguilar’s public defender, refused to comment on the case.
“My client is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
According to the Department of Children and Family Services, they had previously investigated several prior reports of abuse and neglect from those close to the boy.
“We talked to the school nurse, the school doctors, school counselors, the teachers, everyone, including the LAPD investigators, who all said everything was OK,” Browning said, “We were very surprised what occurred here. Our social workers were very distraught. … There is no way to predict this occurring.”
However, when a final determination was made, they were unable to act further.
“We don’t have the legal authority to follow up,” Browning said.
The final DCFS meeting with Yonatan took place in spring 2012, when teachers made reports about Yonatan coming to school with a black eye.
Despite all the abuse, school officials believed Yonatan’s mother was a caring individual that had his best interests at heart.
As for why the other sibling didn’t save their brother, they blamed Yonatan for being a bad kid that often acted up.
“My mom does not talk about him because he is a troublemaker,” said one of his brothers. “You guys know about it. He has done so many crazy things.”
The oldest sibling said Yonatan “was very smart” and “knew what he was doing.”
Aguilar is currently being held at the Century Regional Detention Facility and her bail was set at $2 million. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life.