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Police: Body Of 10-Year Old Girl In Toxic Truck

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Jorge Barahona Mugshot

(Source: West Palm Beach Police Department)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Details from an arrest report are beginning to paint a grim picture as to what happened before Jorge Barahona’s truck was found on the side of I-95 Monday with a strong smell of chemicals, his son burned, and the body of his daughter in the back of his truck.

According to the arrest affidavit from West Palm Beach Police, Jorge said he was traveling north on I-95 from Miami to West Palm Beach on Valentine’s Day after he placed his dead daughter in a plastic bag in the rear of the truck.

In the arrest affidavit, Barahona told police that he was accompanied on the trip by Victor and that he was distraught over the death of his daughter and intended to commit suicide. Jorge Barahona told police he pulled his truck over onto a grassy area of the expressway so that he would easily be found, according to the arrest affidavit.

According to West Palm Beach Police’s arrest affidavit, Jorge said he gave Victor a handful of sleeping pills and told him to take them so he could sleep. Jorge said Victor’s head remained in his lap as he sat in the vehicle’s driver’s seat and began pouring gasoline over his own head from a five gallon tank, the affidavit stated.

Jorge told West Palm Beach Police that he intended to set himself on fire, but couldn’t do it because Victor was there with him, according to the arrest affidavit.

In the arrest affidavit, West Palm Beach Police said Jorge had no obvious burns to himself, but Victor did suffer severe burns to his abdomen, legs, and buttocks. When hospital workers further examined Victor, police said prior injuries were found including a broken collarbone, broken arm, scars on his body, and ligature marks on both of his wrists, West Palm Beach Police said in the arrest affidavit.

According to the arrest affidavit, when police asked about the severity of the injuries to the boy, Jorge said some of the gasoline must have splattered onto the boy. But, police said the explanation was inconsistent with Victor’s injuries and that he didn’t have gasoline on him.

Barahona was taken out of the hospital just after 2 p.m. Wednesday and booked into jail in Palm Beach County.

Victor has been moved to the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital and during a Wednesday hearing, it was revealed that his condition is worsening because doctors don’t know what chemical was used to burn him.

While the arrest affidavit answers some of the questions surrounding the bizarre incident that started on Valentine’s Day; there are still questions surrounding the girl’s body which was found wrapped in a garbage bag and decomposing in the back of the truck.

The story started Monday when a Road Ranger spotted Barahona’s truck parked on the side of the road near the Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard exit. When the truck was still there hours later, the ranger pulled over to offer assistance. When he approached the truck, Barahona’s 10-year old adopted son Victor stumbled out of the cab; police said he was suffered from chemical burns and appeared to have a seizure. When the ranger looked inside the cab, he saw Barahona slumped in the driver’s seat.

The ranger contacted police who called in a Haz-mat team. They also called DCF who sent investigators to Barahona’s home and noted that Victor’s sister was missing. In examining the truck the Haz-mat team found the cab was covered in an acid-type chemical; they also found a body among containers of chemicals Barahona used in his pest control business in bed of the truck.

According to the arrest affidavit, the body in the rear of the truck is the deceased daughter of Victor Barahona.

Just days before the body was found, the Department of Children and Families reportedly received a call that the man had been abusing two of his two adopted children.

According to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, a child who lived near Jorge Barahona told their teacher that he would bind his adopted children’s hands and feet with duct tape and only release them so they could eat. The teacher called DCF and reported the suspected abuse.  According to the paper, at least one of Barahona’s other adopted children has confirmed that the children were kept bound in the Barahona’s home.

As of Tuesday night Victor remained in fair condition at St. Mary’s Hospital.  Late Tuesday, the girl’s body was removed from the truck. The strength of the chemicals made it hard to move the body.  In fact, just to get it into the medical examiner’s vehicle was difficult.

“I believe they tried to do a partial decontamination,” explained West Palm Beach Police spokesman Chase Scott explained. “Then the bag was placed into another bag, which was placed into another bag, then on the gurney and then placed into the vehicle for transport.”

Barahona’s truck will be towed to a secure FBI facility.

According to DCF, Barahona and his wife Carmen, 60, have been foster parents for decades.  A few years ago, they took in Victor and his sister and later adopted them.  The couple also has two other adopted children living with them in the home at 115o1 SW 47th Terrace; a 7-year-old girl and an 11- or 12-year-old boy.

Before the Barahona’s adopted Victor and his sister, DCF confirmed that they had been the subject of three reports to the abuse hotline. The agency declined to detail the nature of these reports.

Carmen Barahona reportedly told investigators that she and her husband had recently separated and that she had custody of the couple’s other two children — not Victor and his twin. Those two children were taken into DCF custody and during a hearing Wednesday, Judge Cindy Lederman ordered that “no one that had any idea what was going on in that home will have any contact with these children whatsoever.”

Judge Lederman was stunned DCF got the case on February 10 and the kids were dead on February 15. The DCF investigator said the probe was slowed by the mother’s lies and by the weekend. The judge angrily replied “So we don’t do investigations on weekends?”

Click Here for more on the custody hearing.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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