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Horrific Scene with Tragic Outcome Discovered on FL Hwy

Horrific Scene with Tragic Outcome Discovered on FL Hwy

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The Miami Herald via YellowBrix

February 16, 2011

WEST PALM BEACH — Stranded in an old red pickup by the side of the road, the 10-year-old boy was dripping in acid, badly burned and writhing with seizures.

There was so much of it on Monday morning that it soaked the seats and carpet of the truck, filling the air with poisonous fumes.

Beside him slumped his adoptive father, unconscious and unable, for the moment, to explain what he was doing with the injured boy on the shoulder of northbound Interstate 95 – or to account for the grisly contents of the truck’s covered trailer bed.

Hours after father and son were taken to separate hospitals, the circumstances seemed suspicious to state workers but fell short of sinister. And then they found it: a corpse wrapped in a plain, black garbage bag, tucked in among tubs of unlabeled chemicals.

In a hastily assembled news conference on Tuesday night, a city police spokesman said the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner still was working to identify the “extremely deteriorated,” acid-covered body.

He declined to say whether it had belonged to a child or whether he or she was related to the truck’s driver, 53-year-old Jorge Barahona. The pest exterminator lived in western Miami-Dade County and, with his wife, was raising four adopted children, all younger than 11, officials said.

Although Barahona remained in intensive care at Columbia Hospital in West Palm Beach, police arrested him Tuesday night on a felony charge of aggravated child abuse in connection with an attack on his adopted son, Victor Vocter, said Chase Scott, agency spokesman. Police spoke briefly with Barahona and his wife but were unable to interview the boy.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Tuesday they had recovered a red, plastic gas container from the truck’s cab. The container reeked and was full of acid.

Scott said the attack happened by the side of Interstate 95 but declined to elaborate. He added that police expect to file more charges against Barahona in the near future.

Barahona and his wife, 60-year-old Carmen Barahona, already were the subject of a child abuse investigation by the state’s social services agency.

On Thursday, spurred by a call to a state abuse hot line, the Florida Department of Children and Families opened an investigation into the Barahonas, the latest of “several” such probes into the couple’s treatment of their children, DCF spokesman Mark Riordan said Tuesday.

After the injured boy and the acid-burned body were found, DCF scrambled to see to the safety of Barahona’s remaining adopted children, who had been in state foster care and placed with the Barahonas between 2001 and 2009. Two of the children, Victor and his twin sister, were adopted at the same time.

It was too late for Victor, who lay Tuesday night at St. Mary’s Medical Center, so badly hurt that he was fitted into an incubator at the pediatric intensive care unit. Doctors who examined the boy said he suffered “severe internal reactions,” apparently from inhaling the chemicals, Scott said.

“We’re in the preliminary stages of an extremely tragic and complex set of circumstances,” Riordan said.

A state Road Ranger first spotted Barahona’s red pickup, emblazoned with the name of his Miami-based pest-extermination company, along northbound Interstate 95, between Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and 45th Street, about 5 a.m. on Monday, the FHP said.

He passed the truck again two hours later and called for a trooper to take a look, setting off a series of official responses that saw Barahona and the boy rushed to nearby hospitals. A city hazardous-materials team remained to handle the dangerous chemicals on the truck.

By Monday afternoon, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s emergency responders were poring over the area, noting several large containers in the bed of the pickup. Some were marked, some were unmarked, and one 50- to 75-gallon tub was cracked and leaking, said DEP spokeswoman Cristina Llorens. A powerful acid pooled in the bed and soaked into the truck’s upholstery and carpet.

About 3:45 p.m., a DEP contractor called in to haul the truck away found the body wrapped in the black garbage bag, which had been removed from bed and placed by the front of the truck, Llorens said.

The discovery set into motion a painstakingly slow process that still was unfolding Tuesday night, as an FBI team worked to decontaminate the truck and clear the way for county forensic investigators to examine the body. About 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, investigators retrieved the corpse and brought it to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy.

DCF workers put the Barahonas’ other adopted children, between 7 and 11, in the care of Carmen Barahona’s parents, Riordan said.

DCF officials planned to go before a state dependency court judge today for a ruling on whether to remove the children from the Barahonas’ care.

Jorge and Carmen Barahona were married in Coral Gables in 1996, records show. The couple ran CJ’s Pest Exterminator Inc. from their well-kept home at 11501 S.W. 47th Terrace in western Miami-Dade County. Neither had a criminal record in Florida, state records show.

To adopt children from the state’s foster program, the Barahonas had to pass a rigorous background screening and attend training classes, Riordan said.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    A time of entering my thoughts I didn't see the comment of the little girls name, but I had the feeling it was a little child. But more parent to be investigated. I had adopted a child myself many years ago. Still would like to. I love children they bring such joy to you, and anyone that abuses them should be treated the same as they are being treated. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. No child deservse to be tied up. If they have a problem with listening then another way to the problem can be used. But not abuse. My own mother use to use a wooden spoon, a hanger, a tree branch like a lilac or willow, or the paddle you use to bounce a ball off of, she shook both my brother and I and used a bar of soap in our mouths. I swore wen I had my own child I would never do any of this to my child. Waiting 10yrs for a child, mine is 32yrs old now. No child needs to be punished this way or to be tied up. The first time my Mother shook my child was he last. I put my foot down, I said, "what you did to use you will not do to my son." I walked out. It caused problems with my Mother and me. But one thing is I never regret doing,was what I feel was right. And my thanks go out to the women that give up their children, so like myself I was able to have a child. But I believe the state needs to alter there work hours and been now. Not a normal day that is between the hours of 9-5pm . All is well during that time period. Visit at other times. Like 4-11pm or due spot checks beween 1am-7am. catch people at different times. If they are doing something wrong let them get caught. If there is no wrong then they have nothing to hide. But the system need to alter there times to fit the modern man in modern time period. Not just the normal court time period. If they can get a judge to sign a warrant at anytime then the time to inspect or investigate can be anytime. Not just where child are placed but the homes of complaints and all rooms. Not just where they can see from the view within 20ft. and looks neat. A cover job is within viewing area. Look beyond. Not, enough of this is being done. Inspect, check and do it at a various time periods. Unexpected wih NO WARNING! My sympathy goes out to the children and the placement in dealing with this in their new home life. A change may be hard for them, but the change will bring new and different surroundings that will be better for the children. Investigations will prove the true facts.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    There is two many un answered questions. At this time but someone will go jail. With no criminal record on either one doesn't mean there isn't a first time. But at this moment it sounds like it was an accident. That happen with a container that either was open.Do to someone looking for something that didn't know about chemicals, and was over engulped in fumes. Liike someone looking for a toy that was thrown in the direction of th chemicals, for spite. LIike children playing. Or the contaner was tipped over and the person fainted in the chemical due to the fumes and died. In panic they trid to remove the body the best way they thought they could do it. But then it turned to premeditated by wrappimg and moving the corspe. Except the chemical leaked out thrrough the bags, over come by fumes seeping throuht the area of the truck. Lost control of the vehicle and endangering a child. Not by intention. But still involving the child, by needing help. I have a gut feeling this was a accident that turned to a panic crime.

  • Fallen_officers_candlelight_vigil_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Another sad case for our system, the children suffered horrendous abuse and where were we? That DCF worker should be worried. I guess now she could do weekend calls at the local fast food restaurant.
    Our prayers go out to the surviving family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    If DCF doesn't work weekends, calls on weekend should be referred to the police because evil doesn't take weekends off.

  • Mourning_badge_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Another example of a couple that deserves torture forever and absolute removal from society. May they burn in Hell for eternity. I don't know if Florida's death penalty will cover this specific type of murder but I will be keeping my fingers crossed that it does.

    My Prayers for the surviving children, may they be healed physically and psychologically.

  • 100_1750_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The little girls name was Nubia. Eternal peace for this baby. Prayers for the boy. He is still in critical condition. The DCF worker who was supposed to handle the call said she doesn`t do weekend investigations. The other children had been tied up in the bathroom for hours. That was what the investigation was supposed to be about. You have to wonder. Would any of this have happened if DCF had done the right thing?

  • 309


    over 3 years ago


    Giving this man the death penalty would be letting him off easy. He should be bound and quartered.

  • Img_20111016_163737_max50


    over 3 years ago


    wow this sickens me.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I can't even Image what these Kids went through, God please help these Children this Instance.
    IMO, This horrific case Probably wouldn't have made it this far had Child Protective Services did their Job. DCF or DYFS here in NJ, hires Social workers with Degree's, However I would say a good %70 of the hires are overwhelmed, Lack Empathy, no little about Signs of Abuse, and work to expedite to close the case to lighten their work load. There's often the Situation when one is out Sick or on Vacation, No one wants to follow up on some elses Workload or Abuse Case no matter how Severe. I'm sure all cases are investigated, however Ive Called DYFS on someone who beat their son so hard the four year old had a large scrape and Blood mixed in with his urine. This man had is Son back the Next E'ffing Day b/c they released him to his Grandmothers Custody and hence DYFS has the Cased Closed. I'm guessing if someone is to make a false accusation, that would be easier to follow up on, so it can be Closed Expeditiously. The Simple Fact that "Outside Unrelated Parties" where Making reports of Abuse, should have been one Hell of a E'ffing Red Flag ! Children can Suffer abuse in Any Element such as Slums to The Suburbs where abuse is even more Easily Hidden, So I'm putting half the Blame on Child Protective Services, for having knowledge of possible Child abuse and still not Following up on any one of those Calls.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    Not sure I totally understand -- did Victor die (article said it was "...too late..." for him. Praying for this kid if he still lives. Death penalty still a "go" in FL?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    my prayers are with you

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Sad story--my prayers go up for the children involved.

  • Bkackie_tahoe_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I wasnt on the scene of this but know someone that was, He said it was the worst thing he has ever seen in 18 years. We all need to pray for that little boy and for his sister that passed away and hope God's plan for them is something special

  • Justified_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Calls like this make me wish I could scrub my mind after my shift. Can't even imagine what it would be like to be a 10 year old boy dragged far away from home and left to die covered in acid by the same person who was supposed to take care of you.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Hoping the child is able to recover! Sometimes our laws leave a bit to be desired!

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