Safety was a priority for Mathew Hernandez’s mother who contacted Child Protective Services three weeks before her son was murdered.
She warned the boy’s father, Phillip Hernandez, had a history of violence and got abusive when high.
“Safety is a key priority in child protective services,” said Michelle Callejas, Deputy Director, CPS. “We deal with families everyday who have domestic violence issues, substance abuse issues mental health issues and we have a number of stories of success.”
On Feb. 4, CPS began their investigation.
According to documents released by CPS, the agency conducted a safety assessment that includes a number of questions to determine if the child is in immediate danger.
“The information she had at the time indicated it was safe to leave Mathew in the home,” said Callejas.
Part of the investigation included a drug exam which Hernandez tested positive for Methamphetamines and Marijuana, but he agreed to get help.
CPS came up with the idea to allow Mathew and his brother to see their father only when their 72-year-old grandmother was present.
“The grandmother did not indicate any violent behavior toward the children. We had no information from other sources indicating the father had been violent toward the children,” said Callejas.
Documents show Hernandez failed to appear for a Feb. 26 drug test.
That same day, investigators say he went into his backyard, grabbed a hatchet and beat his 9-year-old son to death.