herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Dad held after chemicals poured over twins

THE home of a father said to have poured chemicals over his adopted twin 10-year-olds has been searched by police.

The girl, Nubia, was found dead in the back of a pickup truck and the boy, Victor, was critically injured in the front seat after police said his father doused him with a chemical.

A chemical was also poured on the girl and it was difficult to determine if she had been abused before her death, said officials in Palm Beach, Florida. It was not clear if the chemical was poured on the girl before or after she died.

The father, Jorge Barahona, is charged with attempted murder and child abuse after authorities said he burned Victor with chemicals.



SEIZURES

He told police he loaded his dead daughter into the truck, got into the pickup with his son and planned to kill himself.

The boy was found convulsing in seizures, overcome by the toxins. The father was on the ground, unresponsive. Barahona pleaded not guilty yesterday. He is being held in jail without bail and ordered not to have contact with Victor or other children.

Meanwhile, police were also interviewing his wife, Carmen Barahona.

Child welfare officials said she repeatedly covered up for her husband in the days before the twins were found.

Officials said the truck was so toxic several rescue workers fell ill. Officials with the Department of Children and Families said they expect charges to be filed against the mother. West Palm Beach Police Captain Mary Olsen said her agency was reviewing evidence, and authorities started searching the couple's Miami home late on Thursday night.

Child welfare officials have said the couple tied the twins' hands and feet and locked them in the bathroom as punishment.

The couple, who adopted the twins out of foster care in 2008, have been the subject of three abuse investigations in the past few years.

A family member called the abuse hotline last week after the Barahonas' granddaughter claimed the twins were being tied up and locked in a bathroom. A judge removed the granddaughter from her mother's care yesterday amid concerns that family members knew about the twins' abuse but did nothing.



SCARS

Officials said Carmen Barahona even warned the girl that these were "family secrets" that shouldn't be repeated.

Officials do not believe the granddaughter was abused.

A judge ordered the mother not to have contact with the girl and placed the child in her father's custody. The couple are divorced.

The girl's abuse allegations tipped off a futile four-day search for Jorge Barahona and the twins. The agency finally called police, the same day the truck was found.

A doctor said Victor's burned body was also covered with scars, including marks indicating he had been tied. Officials said yesterday the boy was still in critical condition, but had made some progress.

hnews@herald.ie

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