(AP) - Child welfare workers investigated claims of violence and drug use at a
Sacramento home three weeks before authorities said a 9-year-old boy was killed
by his father with a hatchet.
While representatives from the Sacramento County Child
Protective Services office confirmed drug use was going on at Matthew Hernandez'
home during a Feb. 4 visit, they concluded the behavior did not warrant removing
the boy and his older brother, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.
Despite the claim, the agency said, "The children do not appear
to be in any imminent danger at this time."
Matthew's father, Phillip Hernandez, has been charged with
murder in the boy's Feb. 26 slaying. The 36-year-old did not enter plea during
his appearance in a Sacramento County courtroom Thursday.
He was jailed without bail and is due back in court April
County records did not make clear the report whether the
caregiver mentioned was Hernandez. County Department of Health and Human
Services spokeswoman Laura McCasland declined comment Thursday to The Associated
Press on whether Hernandez is the caregiver cited in the report.
The report also does not mention who made the initial claims,
but the boys' mother, Jessica Hernandez, told KCRA-TV that she called CPS on
Feb. 4 and 5 to complain about the welfare of her children and to report that
Philip Hernandez uses drugs, is violent and there were rifles inside his
Phillip Hernandez was convicted of domestic violence and served
prison time from July 2006 to October 2007, according to state records.
The slain boy's 12-year-old brother is now in the custody of
his mother, who divorced Phillip Hernandez and lives in Las Vegas, the newspaper
Authorities say officers found Matthew Hernandez dead from
blunt-force trauma after his father allegedly had gone into the backyard to get
a hatchet and, for unknown reasons, broke through a sliding glass door to get
The boy's great-grandmother who lives in the home heard the
glass shatter, ran into the living room and found Hernandez standing over his
sleeping son with the ax, authorities said.
The victim's brother, who was at home during the attack, was
The county said in a written statement Thursday that it is
working with law enforcement in the criminal investigation.