MIAMI (CBS4) – Calling the actions of two adoptive parents accused of murdering one of their children “subhuman, depressing and sickening,” Miami-Dade police director Jim Loftus spoke about the case in general terms Monday afternoon.
However, an arrest warrant released Monday painted a clearer, more disturbing picture about the days leading up to Nubia Barahona’s death. The warrant states she was “repeatedly punched and beat about her body while she screamed and cried until she was dead.”
Loftus stood by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle during an afternoon press conference and expressed a commitment to beef up the police department’s child exploitation unit by increasing the number of sergeants and investigators.
“This is in my experience one of the saddest commentaries on the human condition – it’s depressing and sickening people working in concert to perpetrate [this crime] on their own children, adopted or not,” Loftus said. “Two kids bound, locked in a bathroom with no light. What did they talk about? What hope did they have? What did they converse about?”
Ten-year old Nubia and her twin brother Victor were made to stand in the bathtub, bound with tape, for hours at a time. When they attended public school, Nubia was said be hungry, dirty and had suffered some bruising, possibly from being struck.
According to an arrest warrant, Victor says Nubia was beaten to death in Jorge and Carmen’s bedroom on Friday, February 11th, after more than a year during which both kids were “repeatedly beaten, willfully tortured, maliciously punished and unlawfully caged.”
The warrant also states Victor who was treated for a cleft palate when he was born failed to receive the proper care when his scar opened.
“He has not received the necessary medical attention causing further facial injury and disfigurement,” the warrant states.
Fernandez Rundle said her team of attorneys is working closely with Miami-Dade Police to prosecute Carmen and Jorge Barahona for their alleged roles in what she described as “methodical torture imposed on these two beautiful children.”
Three weeks ago, the body of Nubia was found wrapped in plastic in the back of Jorge Barahona’s pick up truck parked off I-95 in West Palm Beach; her brother was unconscious in the front seat suffering from chemical burns.
Over the weekend, 60-year old Carmen Barahona, the adoptive mother, was charged with first-degree murder and she will be held without bond pending trial.
Barahona was charged in the death of 10-year old Nubia Barahona. She was also charged with seven counts of aggravated child abuse and seven counts of child neglect for her alleged treatment of Nubia and Victor. During the hearing, the judge set a bond amount of $50 thousand for each count of aggravated child abuse and $7,500 for each count of neglect.
When news Barahona’s arrest spread across their southwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, neighbors said they weren’t surprised.
“She knew what was going on and she permitted it, that’s disgusting,” said Leyda Alonso.
Carmen’s husband Jorge Barahona remains in jail in Palm Beach County; he’s also being held without bond. He’s been charged with first degree murder and cruelty and abuse toward children.
In addition to the police department’s news conference on Monday, an independent review panel created to investigate what went wrong in the state’s efforts to protect Victor and Nubia will meet for a fourth time.
Late last week, the murder case against Nubia was transferred to Miami-Dade from Palm Beach County, after investigators determined she had been killed in Miami-Dade.
Sources told CBS4 I-Team investigator Jim DeFede that the autopsy found Nubia died from “blunt force trauma” and that her chest was caved in. “It was as if someone had stomped on her,” according to the source.
Miami-Dade homicide investigators have been examining the Barahona home in Southwest Miami-Dade, at one point opening a septic tank on the property and removing material, at another, removing a bathtub from the home.
On Saturday a makeshift memorial began to emerge in front of the Barahona home. Parents and children left notes, flowers and toys in memory of Nubia.
I came out here to leave it because I think that she did not deserve what happened to her,” said one boy.
Sources familiar with the investigation tell CBS4 News that Carmen Barahona is claiming to be a victim of “battered wife syndrome” and that she is not responsible for what happened in her house because she lived in fear of her husband.