NORTH HIGHLANDS,Calif. - The mother of a young boy murdered in Natomas on Feb. 26 said she had warned the courts of the danger posed by her ex-husband several months prior to her child's death.
Jessica Hernandez said she called an emergency family court hearing back in December, because she feared her ex-husband's drug addiction was turning him violent. She claims the evidence she tried to present in court was denied by the judge.
Three months later, Matthew Hernandez was brutally murdered with a hatchet, allegedly at the hands of his own father.
"If I can't call out to the courts and CPS, who can I call on?" said Jessica Hernandez. "Who is there to help me? It wasn't just some regular thing, I filed an emergency hearing with emergency circumstances and I told them then that my kids were in danger."
Hernandez returned to Sacramento this morning from her home in Las Vegas to comfort her surviving son. She said her 12 year-old boy Phillip Jr. witnessed his father kill his younger brother Matthew while he slept on the couch in his great-grandmother's home Tuesday night.
"He's holding up really well, but he did see it," said Hernandez.
"I'm just trying to be strong for him. He was crying to me the other day that he can't get the picture out of his head."
Sunday morning, Hernandez's high school friends organized a car wash to help her with bills and funeral arraignments.
"It's shining a light on the dark situation," said friend Elena Medrano. "Seeing everyone get together to support Jessica and what she's going through."
However, Hernandez said for the past year she didn't get support from the Sacramento Family Court System. She said she's been crying for months that something horrible would eventually happen to her sons if they remained with their father.
"I filed an emergency exparte hearing in December," said Hernandez.
"I called CPS three weeks ago. I spent 63 minutes on the phone crying to them that the courts are failing me. My family is slipping through the cracks."
She was fighting her ex-husband Philip Hernandez in court for the past year over custody of their two sons. Hernandez claims she had evidence of Philip's drug addiction and violent behavior, but the family court judge refused to look at any of the text messages, emails, and other evidence she tried to present in court.
"It was mostly meth, but different kinds of drugs," said Hernandez.
"I told them then, they were in danger and she wouldn't even look at it or listen."
Hernandez said she suspects the judge may have a bias against her, because of her occupation as a stripper.
On Sunday, the courts were closed, so News10 could not obtain the documents Hernandez referenced. A spokesperson with family court told News10 on Friday the judge would not be commenting on the case.
Phillip Hernandez made his first court appearance on Friday. He's due back in court March 14. The funeral for Matthew Hernandez is scheduled for Saturday.