$18 million settlement reached in case of 8-year-old boy who died after incident at La Puente school

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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An $18 million settlement was announced between the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District and the parents of an 8-year-old boy with Down syndrome who died at school.

LA PUENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- An $18 million settlement was announced Wednesday between the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District and the parents of an 8-year-old boy with Down syndrome who died following an incident at his school.

"He was everything to me. He was my whole life," said Roberta Murillo, Moises Murillo's mother.

More than five years after Moises died, the boy's family is still heartbroken over what happened. They blame the school district for his death.

"At the end of the day, they caused a damage and that's not right what they did," Moises' sister Lizbeth Murillo said at a news conference Wednesday.

According to the boy's family, Moises went to Sunset Elementary for his second day of summer school on May 31, 2017. He was in his adaptive stroller, which he used to live a normal life.

The family's attorney, Steve Vartazarian, said school staff allegedly removed Moises from his stroller and restrained him to a regular chair using a physical therapy gait belt.

"They put him in this predicament and then they proceeded to turn their backs on him, leaving him alone and without any supervision whatsoever," Vartazarian said.

Vartazarian said Moises was able to push himself back and fell, fracturing his neck.

He died four days later.

"It's just sad how someone's irresponsibility could damage somebody eternally, for life," Lizbeth Murillo said.

On Wednesday, Vartazarian announced that the family has reached an $18 million settlement with the school district one week before a trial was supposed to start in this case.

The district did not respond to ABC7's request for comment.

Moises' sister said the family hopes the district makes changes to ensure the safety of all its students.

"Not just because of my brother but there's other kids who are in the district who have disabilities who need that attention," she said.

The family said they will never be able to get closure because no amount of money will ever be able to bring Moises back.