SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) — One day after an unidentified body was found inside a fume-filled pick-up truck on the side of the road in Palm Beach County, neighbors of the truck’s owner are in shock.
Miami-Dade police remain outside the home of Jorge and Carmen Barahona in the 11000 block of SW 47th Terrace following the discovery of a body inside Barahona’s pesticide truck on Monday. Barahona, 53, and his 10-year-old adopted son, Victor Vocter, were pulled over on the side of the road, both ill from chemical exposure, presumably from an unlabeled open plastic container containing an acid-like substance.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench caught up with one of the Barahona’s closest friends in their neighborhood who is a next-door neighbor who did not want to be identified or have their face shown. The neighbor said they wanted to speak out about the friends who they have known ever since they moved into the home next door.
“They’re very nice and quiet,” the neighbor said. “They seemed very normal. They were all playing outside together when I saw them. They were very, very normal.”
“I’m really shocked,” the neighbor continued. “I just can’t believe it. This is a nightmare.”
When asked if they had seen any problems before, the neighbor replied “Never, I mean never. He always liked to talk and say ‘Hi, how are you?'”
Tuesday, other neighbors say they are also perplexed and startled.
“In my opinion, they are a good family,” said neighbor Mario Gonzalez to CBS4’s Cristina Puig. Gonzalez has lived across the street from the Barahona’s for the last nine years.
Neighbors also say Jorge and Carmen Barahona were very private and mostly kept to themselves.
“Sometimes I saw him only here in the pesticide car, but I never talked with him anytime,” said neighbor Leyda Alonso.
Another neighbor said, “He is a good person and is always willing to lend a hand.”
DCF spokesman Mark Riordan has confirmed to CBS4 News that the Barahona’s had four children, all adopted. “There are no foster children. The Barahona’s have adopted all four children over the course of the last ten years. They fostered them for 4 or 5 years and then adopted them. None of them are their own children,” said Riordan.
CBS4’s Gary Nelson was at the home Tuesday afternoon as officials from DCF removed the couple’s two other children. It is not known how old they are, but their immediate future will be determined by a Miami-Dade County judge at an emergency hearing Wednesday morning.
The four children range in age from 7 through 11. Riordan said one child, Victor Vocter, remains in the hospital and the remaining children are with grandparents under DCF protective supervision. He did not give an exact number of children with the grandparents.
Riordan also confirmed DCF has had prior involvement with the family. “Over the course of their foster relationship and since their adoption, DCF has been called to the home several times over the last 7 years. We would go out to the home for a number of reasons, that would be from an allegation of abuse, abandonment or neglect.”
Riordan stressed that DCF is working side-by-side with law enforcement to make sure that the children are safe.
Body Remains In Pest Control Truck In Palm Beach