MIAMI (CBS4) – A Southwest Miami-Dade man whose daughter was found dead in the back of his pick up truck in Palm Beach County off I-95 has been charged with attempted murder on his 10 year old son Victor.
The attempted murder charge for Jorge Barahona, 53, was added late Thursday night. Those charges stem from injuries suffered by his 10-year old son Victor. He is being held on no bond.
CBS4 News has also learned that Barahona’s wife Carmen, was seen getting into the back of a Miami-Dade police detective’s car. She is being questioned, but is not in custody and has not been placed under arrest.
Jorge Barahona was a no show at his first appearance hearing Thursday morning on charges of aggravated child abuse on the boy. About 15 minutes before the Barahona’s hearing, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said he threw himself off a sink backwards in an apparent attempt to knock himself unconscious.
“He was immediately checked by emergency personnel and it was decided he was OK to appear in court. Barahona refused to cooperate with deputies and administrative personnel (by verbally NOT answering questions) and go to court. The first appearance judge made the determination that Barahona could attend court at another time,” said the PBSO in a written statement.
During Thursday hearing Circuit Judge Ted Booras ordered that Barahona undergo a mental evaluation. After spending some time in the hospital Thursday, Barahona was returned to jail late Thursday afternoon.
“Because he is a threat to himself and the community I’m setting bond at one million dollars,” said Judge Booras.
Additional charges are pending on what investigators find when an autopsy is performed on his ten year old adopted daughter Nubia whose body was found wrapped in a garbage bag in the back of the pickup truck Barahona was driving.
According to the arrest affidavit from West Palm Beach Police, Barahona 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. During an interview with investigators Barahona reportedly said that that he was accompanied on the trip by Victor and that he was distraught over the death of his daughter Nubia and intended to commit suicide. 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 the report, Barahona said he gave Victor a handful of sleeping pills and told him to take them so he could sleep. Barahona 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.
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 Department of Children and Families 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 wrapped in plastic among containers of chemicals Barahona used in his pest control business in bed of the truck.
In the arrest affidavit, West Palm Beach Police said Barahona 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, Barahona said some of the gasoline must have splattered onto the boy. But, police said the explanation was inconsistent with Victor’s injuries and no gasoline was found in the truck.
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.
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.
Thursday morning Barahona’s truck was towed to secure facility where it will be examined by an FBI forensics team.
Just days before the body was found, DCF reportedly received a call that the man had been abusing two of his two adopted children.
According to DCF, a child who lived near the Barahonas told a 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 on February 10th. At least one of Barahona’s other adopted children has reportedly confirmed that the Victor and his sister were kept bound in the Barahona’s home.
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 11501 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?”