Things That Matter

Two Teens Charged With Child Endangerment After They Filmed a Video Of Toddler They Were Babysitting Smoking A Vape Pen

Pennsylvania police have confirmed that they are filing child endangerment charges against two teenagers who filmed a video of a two-year-old boy smoking a vape pen while they were babysitting him. According to police, the authorities were alerted to the video via the local youth violence prevention hotline, Safe2Say Something.

The video shows the toddler inhaling from a vaping device and falling down while he coughs and cries. The laughter of the two girls can be heard in the background of the video. The teenage girls–who are 18 and 17, respectively–allegedly filmed the video of the toddler smoking and then posted the 20-second clip to Snapchat. 

Shortly after being posted and reported, the video went viral on social media, with the public demanding that the police get involved. 

The Indiana Criminal Investigation Unit responded to the outcry with a statement saying that they were “aware of a video” and were “investigating the related incident in which a 2-year-old child was given a vaping device”. They confirmed that the “involved persons and child have been identified and charges are pending.” The authorities also revealed that the toddler did not display any other visible effects from the vape, which apparently contained 3% nicotine and no THC.

According to authorities, the local school district has identified the teenagers in the video as students who attend one of their schools. They provided the students’ names to the police.  “United administration was made aware of the video today, and the matter is being investigated by the authorities,” said United School District of Armagh Superintendent Dr. Barbara Parkins in a statement. “We believe that two of our students were involved in the situation. The names of those students were provided to the authorities.”

Viewers were especially disturbed by the video in light of the troubling cases of illness and death that have recently been associated with vape pens,

As of January 7, 2020, a total of 2,602 e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases or deaths have been reported to The Center for Disease Control. According to the CDC, 82% of those cases involved the use of THC-containing vaping pens, most of which were obtained from “informal sources” (i.e. black-market products). 

The media-dubbed epidemic has elicited a strong response from health officials who urge the public to avoid vaping pens and e-cigarettes at all costs. “E-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease,” American Lung Association president Harold Wimmer recently said in a statement addressing the health epidemic. “No one should use e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product.”. 

As for the toddler’s mother, she is horrified that her child was subjected to such dangerous activity without her knowledge. 

“I’m disgusted. I’m very upset.I’m in disbelief they would even laugh or even have something like that in reach of a child’s possession,” the child’s mother told local news station WXPI. “I’m not trusting anybody anymore to babysit my child,” she continued. “I’m done. I don’t even want to put him in daycare. I can’t trust anybody anymore.”

As for the fallout from this incident, the video is sparking a larger debate on social media about the callous way in which many Gen Zers use social media to publicize their problematic activities for clout and retweets. In an internet culture that glorifies problematic “pranks” and public humiliation, this kind of incident feels, for many, like the last straw.

The public’s outcry seems to largely stem from the fact that the teenagers were laughing while they recklessly put a toddler in danger. 

It’s one thing to put a child in harm’s way, it’s another to laugh about it, and it’s an entirely other case when you post and brag about it on social media.

Some Twitter-users pointed out the fact that vape pens have recently become incredibly dangerous. 

The reality is, EVALI is a new phenomenon that we still don’t know all the facts about. 

This Latina mother makes clear that, should anyone do the same thing to her child, she would take the law into her own hands:

We can only imagine the feelings of shock and betrayal this mother is experiencing right now.

This viewers still seemed to be in denial about the entire situation:

As much as we’d love for this video to have been doctored, we have a feeling that it is 100% real. 

This person is primarily disturbed about the girls’ reaction to the toddler coughing and crying

It is likely that these teen girls didn’t know the danger they were putting this child in by letting him smoke an e-cigarette.

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Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Things That Matter

Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Photos: State of California, Gabriel’s Justice/Facebook

Gabriel Fernandez’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, is trying to have her murder conviction thrown out. The 37-year-old woman has been in jail since 2018 for the murder and torture of her eight-year old son.

Pearl Fernandez is petitioning the court for resentencing, hoping to have her first-degree murder and/or second-degree murder charges thrown out.

Fernandez is hoping to have her sentence vacated based off of new changes to the California state penal code. “I think that she feels that somehow maybe, you know, the special circumstance will be dismissed or maybe she’ll have a chance that the D.A. will agree with the petition,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said to CBSLA.

In June 2018, a judge sentenced Pearl Fernandez to life without parole. The judge charged Pearl Fernandez with the 2013 torture and killing of her eight-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez.

On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez died after suffering a fatal beating from his mother. Pearl Fernandez was allegedly angry that he didn’t clean up his toys.

The details of Pearl and her boyfriend’s lengthy torture campaign against Gabriel Fernandez are both gruesome and numerous. Over the course of his eight-month stay with Isauro Aguirre, the couple broke his bones, burned him with cigarettes, pepper-sprayed him, and forced him to eat his own vomit as well as animal feces. And that is just a short-list of what they did.

The case came to national attention after the release of the 2020 Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez“. The documentary shone a spotlight on the insidious nature of child abuse. It also highlighted the systematic failures of the social services system that fails to protect children.

Elected officials have expressed their disgust at Pearl Fernandez for trying to escape justice by taking advantage of updated laws.

“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the Legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be re-sentenced,” said Deputy DA Hatami to City News Service. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones.”

He continued: “Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. Based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of little Gabriel.”

It seems obvious by the fact that Pearl Fernandez is trying to get out of jail after torturing her son to death, that she isn’t remorseful about her actions.

Any other mother who killed her son would probably want to spend the rest of her life in jail instead of trying to find a way to get out of it.

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. Staying vigilant could help save a child like Gabriel Fernandez.

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Nanny Cam Footage Shows Months of Torture and Child Abuse that Led to the Death of 9-Year-Old Emrik Osuna

Things That Matter

Nanny Cam Footage Shows Months of Torture and Child Abuse that Led to the Death of 9-Year-Old Emrik Osuna

Photo via GoFundMe

A tragic story of child abuse out of Idaho has been rocking the nation. After weeks of starvation, beatings, and torture at the hands of his father and stepmother, 9-year-old Emrik Osuna died from his injuries.

This week, an Idaho judge ruled that there is enough evidence for the Erik and Monique Osuna’s murder trials to proceed.

Police found nanny cam footage that was evidence of the torture that Emrik faced for months. The footage shows months of endless forced exercise, physical and verbal abuse, and the systematic starvation of the little boy. Footage shows his stepmother pulling him from the ground by the hair and “swinging him around like a rag doll”. It also captures her beating him with a pan and cursing at him.

Prosecutors say that Emrik was fed only a diet of rice and water the weeks before he died. Emrik’s parents also forced him to sleep on the floor or in a hall closet. By the time his lifeless body was taken to the hospital on September 1st, 2020, he was practically skeletal.

“The little boy had bruises all over his body, specifically on his buttocks, groin, legs and torso,” said prosecutor Tamara Kelly. “Some of the bruises were extremely large and essentially covered the back of his body.”

The couple is facing respective first-degree murder charges. Erik Osuna, the 9-year-old’s biological father, is also facing charges of evidence tampering, inflicting bodily injury and injury to a child. According to reports, the boy’s stepmother, Monique Osuna, was the primary abuser of Emrik. However, Erik rarely, if ever, intervened to help his son.

The day that Emrik’s health declined rapidly, his parents hesitated to take him to the hospital out of fear. Hours before Emrik died, Erik Osuna allegedly texted his wife, Monique, saying, “I know you are scared. I am too.”

Emrik Osuna’s relatives are shocked and heartbroken at the tragic death of the 9-year-old boy.

“I just started bawling, started crying – I just can’t believe it,” said Marie Osuna, Emrik’s aunt, about when she first heard of his death. “It just shocks me. I don’t know how anybody can do that to a child.”

According to relatives, Emrik’s mother also abused him and his twin siblings before police arrested her. Marie Osuna said that Emrik’s father was “in and out of his life” for years before gaining full custody of him. In the meantime, Marie Osuna took care of Emrik in Orange County.

“He was just like one of our own. He loved us. He would call me mom,” Marie Osuna told KTBV 7. “He was just a good kid, he was happy. I just don’t understand what happened.”

“Why would they starve him like that?” she asked. “What did he do to deserve to be starved or even to be hit, like a dog? He just needed love. He just needed love, that’s it, and to feel safe.”

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. Staying vigilant could help save a child like Emrik’s life.

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