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.
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.
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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