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In the Media

article imageSuicidal father poisoned son, held on $1 million bail

article:303790:5::0
By Edward Xiao
Feb 17, 2011 in Crime
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Miami - Jorge Barahona, 53, was placed on a $1 million bail Thursday by a Florida judge after he attempted to kill his 10-year old adopted son by soaking him in toxic chemicals.
According to Reuters, police also found the decomposing body of Barahona's daughter in the back of his pickup truck.
The case first came to light when a state worker found the boy, Victor, sitting in the front seat of a red exterminator's truck, suffering from respiratory problems and soaked in chemicals so toxic they made ill the rescue workers who attempted to rescue the child.
Near the truck was an unresponsive Barahona who had doused himself in gasoline. Barahona would later claim that he was attempting to commit suicide.
Since the vehicle was too toxic to search, hours passed before officials finally found the body of Barahona's daughter and Victor's twin sister, Nubia, wrapped in plastic and stuffed between chemical containers, states MSNBC.
At the hospital, Victor was listed as being in critical condition, suffering from worsening burns and an unidentified chemical.
Barahona was also in the hospital. He initially faces aggravated assault charges, but there are more to come.
On Thursday, Judge Ted Booras ordered Barahona to undergo a mental health evaluation.
This ordeal has shocked many Floridians, some of whom believe that the situation could have been prevented.
Previous allegations of child abuse by Barahona and his wife Carmen exist. Dr. Walter Lambert said during a court hearing that Victor had "many, many scars" and that he had broken a few bones before.
Four days before the incident on the highway, an anonymous caller reported that Barahona was allegedly abusing his children.
According to the caller, who was actually the Barahonas' 7-year old granddaughter, the twins' feet and hands were bound and they were kept in the bathtub as "punishment." Child welfare officials believe that the girl was also suffering from starvation.
After the call, child protective investigator Andrea Fleary tracked the children down to their home Friday night. However, their mother stated that she was separated from her husband and did not know where either he or the children were.
Officials now believe that she had been lying to protect him.
According to ABC News, at a Wednesday hearing, Judge Cindy Lederman wondered, "How could we have gotten a call to a hotline on Feb. 10 and a child died a few days later?"
When questioned by Lederman as to why she did not inquire further, Fleary said that it was 9 p.m. on a Friday night. Lederman was furious with her response.
In custody, Barahona told officials that he had placed his dead daughter in the truck, given Victor sleeping pills and doused himself in gasoline. However, he stated that he could not kill himself because his son was in the car.
While Barahona has expressed remorse, he has not given testimonies consistent with the evidence that officials have found.
Neighbors of the Barahonas reported that they had not even known that children were living at the Barahona residence.
"I never saw these kids outside. No one knows anything about this family," said neighbor Gerardo Rodriguez, 72.
article:303790:5::0
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