Foster Care Ordered For Two Barahona Children

MIAMI (CBS4) – In the aftermath of Monday’s tragedy in which a 10-year-old girl was found dead in the bed of her adoptive father’s truck, a Miami-Dade judge has ordered that two of her siblings, also adopted, be taken away their adoptive mother and placed in therapeutic foster care.

During the hearing before Judge Cindy Lederman, a representative from Department of Children and Families told the court they had received a call about Jorge and Carmen Barahona on February 15th.  The caller, a teacher, reportedly told DCF that she was told by one of her students who lived in the Barahona’s neighborhood that the couple kept two of their adopted children, Victor and his twin sister Nubia, bound with duct tape.  According to the report, the caller said the children were only released when it was time to eat.

Carmen Barahona

(Source: C.W. Griffin, Miami Herald)

The DCF attorney explained to the judge that when they went to check on the claims, the Carmen Barahona lied and refused to cooperate.  The investigation was put on hold over the weekend.

A wide eyed Lederman then asked “So we don’t do investigations on weekends?”

After her husband and 10-year old son were found on Monday, the attorney said Carmen obstructed the DCF’s investigation by lying to investigators.  When asked she said she didn’t know where her estranged husband or the twins were.

In ordering Barahona’s two adopted children, a 7-year old girl and an 11-year old boy, be placed in foster care, Lederman said that “no one that had any idea what was going on in that home will have any contact with these children whatsoever.”

After the hearing DCF regional director Jacqui Colyer said there will be a “full investigation into this case.”  Colyer declined to discuss specifics saying the “we are still very early in this investigation.”

Colyer was at a loss to explain the investigator’s statement in court that the abuse investigation was delayed by the weekend.

“We do investigations 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Colyer said.

As to why the complaint was received on Feb. 10th and children were not removed until after the grizzly discovery on the interstate, DCF’s Mark Riordan said, “To know everything that was going on in that family required some time.”

The hearing came hours after police released the arrest affidavit regarding the kids’ father, Jorge Barahona, currently charged with child abuse.  The report states, “he was distraught over the death of his daughter and intended to commit suicide. Jorge said he pulled over onto a grassy area of the expressway where he could easily be found. He gave his son a handful of sleeping pills and told him to take them so he could sleep.”

Wednesday morning at the Southwest Miami-Dade home where Jorge’s wife has been staying with her parents, Carmen appeared briefly at the front door as a family member left the home. A short while later, another visitor, possibly Carmen’s daughter from her first marriage, scuttled into the residence.

Neighbors who’ve been watching this bizarre story unfold in the news are astounded yet insist their neighbors are very good people.

Meanwhile, 10-year-old Victor remains hospitalized.  Wednesday morning he was flown to Jackson Memorial Hospital and placed in the burn unit.  He reportedly has been placed on a respirator so he can breathe after suffering internal injuries from inhaling fumes inside his father’s pesticide truck.  Officials fear his kidneys may be shutting down.

Jorge Barahona Mugshot

(Source: West Palm Beach Police Department)

DCF officials said the Barahona’s had been investigated in the past.

“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, which would be from an allegation of abuse, abandonment or neglect,” said DCF spokesman Mark Riordan.

Jorge Barahon, who remains hospitalized with a police officer stationed outside his door, was charged late Tuesday by West Palm Beach police with aggravated child abuse.

“We expect other charges to be forthcoming,” said police spokesman Chase Scott.

Barahona and his son Victor were found inside his truck Monday which had stopped on the side of I-95 in Palm Beach County. A road ranger pulled over to help and found Barahona slumped behind the wheel. Victor was trying to get out of the truck, in the midst of a seizure and suffering from what appeared to be chemical burns.

“He did suffer some burns from the chemicals that were on his clothes and his body as well as some internal issues,” said Scott, “some severe internal reaction to breathing in the fumes of the chemicals.”

The body remained inside the flatbed Tuesday afternoon, black tarps draped over the truck, until late Tuesday evening. 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,” 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.”

The truck was to be taken to a “secure” facility where the FBI will examine it on Wednesday.

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  • Widline

    What sad news, my thoughts go out to the family of these children. They should have put all the DCF people that were involved in this case in State Prison. If police have been called for the past 7 years why are those children still in the custody of the adoptive parents? Why they wait until one of them died to let the public know what was going on? DCF are always there to make their money and have a report at the end of the year to tell how many kids they took away from their parents, but they are not doing their job the way they should. What sad news, my thoughts go out to the family of these children. They should have put all the DCF people that were involved in this case in State Prison. If police have been called for the past 7 years why are those children still in the custody of the adoptive parents? Why they wait until one of them died to let the public know what was going on? DCF always there to make their money and have a report at the end of the year to tell how many kids they took away from their parents, but they are not doing their job the way they should.

    • Joe Wiram

      I agree DCF people need to be held to a high standard.. arrest ALL involved for their lousy investigation, wouldnt be the first time DCF in Florida has failed at many levels.

  • m

    DCF should be charged with EVERY child that’s abused or killed by their foster parents/family.

  • June Sullivan

    Absolutely….. and the children they let down, ignore…. etc…. should be compensated by DCF for failing them.

    • June Sullivan


      • Carol

        Couldn’t agree with you more if I tried enough is enough with children dying and it could have been stopped before it even started.

  • jackie abella

    so many good people out there that want to adopt a child and DCF allows this MONSTER to adopt children. how does this happen? who was overseeing this case? DCF should face charges along with the father no doubt. and the mother how could she just leave the other two behind, why? I think she should be investigated as well.

  • Bryan Norcross

    The mother is an idiot for allowing this to happen. She should go to prison along with her idiotic husband, two winners!! Got to hand it to DCF, a bunch of fools!!!

  • lovingParent

    DCF is the absolute worst!!!!!! I wouldn’t trust them with a rat..let alone innocent and deserving children! They ignore children and pretend to “investigate”…there is no hope or help when turning to me.

  • Tina Conners

    DCF and the court system is a joke in Florida!!!

  • Stephanie Se

    Don’t they do background checks on people? How could they possibly allow these monsters to adopt. They should have immediately removed the children. DCF was being extremely neglectful, and sadly now a little girl’s life has been lost and her twin severely injured and in the hospital. It’s tragic this happened. My prayers go out to these kids.

  • concerned citizen

    One of the questions the media should be asking is how many investigators DCF South has working during the day? What is the environment at the work place? It is not the investigators fault. The investigators are being asked to work around the clock, with out help and are being squeezed and used. They know what’s going on. Don’t let the management or legislators fool you. You squeeze the workers. Have them work numerous hours and then blame them when things happen. They are quick to wash their hands with the workers. I would plead with the media to drive down to the South and go talk with the investigators. They are so fed up that they would be happy to talk to someone.

    • Foster Mom

      Some of us DO understand how the system works, but sorry was DCF, CPis fault without question. I am a foster parent. I am very active as a foster parents. I go to courts for my foster kids, I supervise visit. I still baby sit for some of my foster kids who went back home. So, I know that some of the workers don’t do half what they are suppose to do. One of my foster baby, who was born addict to methadone is about to go back to parents (that she never lived with, she is now 16 months old) and dad has a HUGE list of medications that he neeeds to take on daily basis, plus metadone weekly. And nothing is showing up on his urine analysis. SO we all know, that he is taking something to clear his urine analysis. Case Manager told me that, but he still have unsupervised visits with her and case manager told me that the agency is in a hurry to do the reunification and there is noting that we can do … ah! Remember BY LAW cases should close in 12 months, this is already 18 months

  • concerned citizen

    Widline is correct. If the investigator intentionally did not do his/her job because he/she did not want to work on the weekend? Then the investigators was negligent. But ask yourselves? Isn’t the State negligent also, by not having enough workers, making the current workers take more cases than they can humanly handle? Then intentionally making them work around the clock? The issue of over time should also be looked at. Are they getting paid for all they work? Are the legislators at fault for not passing a State Law documenting how many cases an investigator should get a month? I believe they know, but nothing gets done. You implement a law stating that a worker is not to get more than 15 cases a month and I bet all of this would stop. The CWLA recommends that an investigator not get more than 12 cases a month. The investigators are probably getting about 40 cases a month. You guys need to do a better job investigating.

  • asley

    They are so fast to take kids away but do not have a safe place to put them . They feel that soon as they remove a child from the home there job is done. But it don’t work like that they don’t care because it is not there flesh n blood.and if they are being over work open your mouth and say something to your boss or go over there head to the next higher level when you work with kids there no room for mistakes. Its sad it takes a little girl life to see that. Thanks DCF

    • Sickened

      Shouldn’t Carmen Barahona be in jail.. She had to have witnessed the abuse. I bet she was offered immunity for giving investigatirs details of the abuse and she then goes scott free; when she played a large role in deceiving DCF and their investigators. What can you say for our justice system.

  • maria

    DCF is simply a waste of time. You got people sitting in offices on facebook, pretending to work, with files piles on their desks that just keep getting pushed aside… The corruption and the laziness you see with DCF is astonishing… Its a great job for the lazy, and coldhearted, unmoved individuals. Way to go DCF!!!

  • JT Wms

    has there any further investigation into this case? How is the boy doing?

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