Noah Cuatro

CUATRO

LANCASTER — The parents of a four-year-old Palmdale boy who died in July 2019 are scheduled to appear in an Antelope Valley courtroom on Tuesday morning for a pretrial hearing in their son’s death.

A grand jury indicted Ursula Elaine Juarez, now 27, and Jose Maria Cuat­ro Jr., now 30, on one count each murder and torture in January 2020.

In addition, Cuatro faces one count each of assault on a child causing death and sexual penetration with a child under the age of 10. Juarez also faces one count of child abuse under circumstances likely to cause death.

The couple pleaded not guilty. Both have been held since their arrest in September 2019. Bail is set at $4 million for Cuatro and $3 million for Juarez, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Information Center.

If convicted as charged, Cuatro faces a possible maximum sentence of 47 years to life in state prison and Juarez could face up to 32 years to life in prison.

Authorities were called about 4 p.m., July 5, 2019, to the family’s home in the 1200 block of East Avenue S, and the boy’s parents said the boy nearly drowned in the family’s pool, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said at the time.  

According to the indictment, Jose Cuatro allegedly sexually assaulted his son on the same date. The couple is accused of torturing their son over a four-month period beginning in April 2019, according to the indictment.

Noah Cuatro was taken to Palmdale Regional Medical Center, then transferred to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he was pronounced dead the morning of July 6, 2019. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Noah Cuatro’s parents were questioned but not arrested at that time and his three siblings were taken into protective custody. He was reportedly under the supervision of the Department of Children and Family Services at the time of his death.

Noah Cuatro’s great-grandmother, Eva Hernandez, filed a multi-million dollar damages claim against Los Angeles County in August 2019, stating he died despite “countless reports of abuse” that had been made to the department.

“There were at least a dozen calls made to the child abuse hotline and police from people who said they suspected Cuatro and his siblings were being abused,” according to the claim filed on behalf of Hernandez.

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