MIAMI (CBS4) – Miami-Dade Police left the Southwest Miami-Dade home of Jorge and Carmen Barahona Tuesday night. They had been there since Monday night, and were spotted removing a bathtub.
Police had cordoned off the home with yellow crime scene tape and officers are stationed outside the home. The family who lives there currently at the center one of the most horrific child abuse investigations in South Florida history.
Also Tuesday, a Blue-Ribbon Panel appointed to investigate the Department of Children and Families’ role in the Barahona case met for a second time.
They heard from Christy Lopez-Acevedo- a child welfare attorney who was involved in the twins’ foster home cases. She says teachers from two different schools warned years ago that Nubia was being abused. Nubia told one teacher her foster mother Carmen would hit her on the bottom of her foot with flip-flops.
“I am fully aware that that is from what the experts tell me a sign of torture, no bruises are left. When I heard this last night it was extremely overwhelming..can I have one moment?” she asked the panel with tears in her eyes.
Lopez-Acevedo tried to explain why, after abuse concerns were reported, the twins were not taken out of the home.
“We had those psychologists telling us that it was detrimentally harmful, that they would never attach with any adult in their life again.”
But she did say what she would have done differently.
“I would have gotten all their teachers into court.
On Monday, officials released a call made to an abuse hotline just four days before 10-year-old twins Victor and Nubia were found doused in chemicals, Nubia dead, in their adoptive father’s pickup truck on Valentine’s Day.
The caller, whose name wasn’t released, is the therapist for Barahona’s 7-year-old granddaughter. During the call, the therapist said the 7-year-old girl alerted her to abuse inside the Barahona home. She claimed the Barahona’s were taping their adoptive 10-year-old twins up.
“And how are the other children being abused?,” the operator from the Florida Abuse Hotline asked.
“They are, when they are being punished, they are being taped up with their arms and legs and put in a bathtub,” the caller said.
The child told the caller she was not abused, but that she had witnessed the abuse of the other children and “was threatened not to say anything.”
Four hours after the call, DCF sent an investigator to the Barahona home but the children were not there. Carmen Barahona reportedly told the DCF agent that she had separated from her husband.
Four days later, the family’s pest control truck was found in Palm Beach County with Nubia dead in the back and her brother and adoptive father covered with chemicals in the front.
Jorge Barahona has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the alleged attack on his son Victor. No charges have yet been filed in his twin sister Nubia’s death.
Victor, meanwhile, continues to recover in the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Victor’s Guardian Ad Litem Paul Neumann visits Victor in the hospital almost every day.
“I don’t know the prognosis,” Neuman told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “All I know is every time I go up and see him, he’s smiling and laughing and in my eyes he’s doing better. We just talk about fun things. We talk about what he likes to eat, the games he likes to play, his game boys. The nurses are giving him game boys and strangers are even calling up offering to give him an allowance.”
Neumann was appointed to protect the interests of the Barahona children.
“I hope they accomplish a lot,” Neumann told D’Oench. “I hope a lot of good will come from this.”