Case news

Most recent articles added to the case archives

Jorge Barahona denied venue change in murder attempt of son

Date: 2014-09-05

WEST PALM BEACH — A judge this afternoon denied a request for a change of venue in the attempted murder case of Jorge Barahona, the man accused of trying to kill his adopted son in Palm Beach County after authorities say he and his wife murdered the boy’s twin sister in Miami.

Circuit Judge Sandra McSorely made the ruling at the end of a hearing this afternoon, which centered around Barahona’s quest to move his case to Miami. The hearing provided a preview to what jurors in his case will likely hear about the morning of Valentine’s Day 2011, when authorities found 10-year-old Nubia Barahona’s decomposing body just feet away from her brother, Victor, inside Jorge Barahona’s pest control truck along Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach.

Victor Barahona was alive, but his body had been doused with deadly chemicals.

Barahona’s attorneys, James Snowden and Mattie Fore, argued that prosecutors can’t prove the alleged attempted killing of Victor Barahona occurred in Palm Beach County.

Eight in Adoption Abuse Case Agree to $17.5 Million Settlement With Foster Agencies

Date: 2014-08-27


Eight young adults with disabilities who were fraudulently adopted by a Queens woman and subjected to years of abuse have agreed to a $17.5 million settlement of their lawsuit against three private New York foster care agencies that had placed them with the woman, a new court filing shows.

The woman, Judith Leekin, 69, who adopted the children in the 1980s and ’90s, was arrested in 2007 in Florida, where she had moved with them. She was later convicted of fraud and abuse charges and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.

The case has long been seen as a horrific breakdown in the city’s foster care system. The authorities said Ms. Leekin used false names to adopt 11 children — one disappeared while in her care and is presumed dead — and she collected $1.68 million in subsidies from New York that were intended for their care but went to support her own lavish lifestyle.

Kansas uses more rigorous evidence standard for child abuse than other states

Date: 2014-08-23


Kansas is the only state in the country that requires clear and convincing evidence to substantiate an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

That standard could be putting children at risk, some in the child welfare field say.

When the Kansas Department for Children and Families substantiates abuse or neglect, it places the perpetrator on a registry that bans him or her from living, working or regularly volunteering in a child-care facility – including foster homes – regulated by the state Department of Health and Environment.

No other state requires such a high burden of proof, according to “Child Maltreatment 2012,” a study by the Administration for Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A survey of states found that most use a preponderance of evidence, a less rigorous standard in which evidence shows it is more likely than not that abuse or neglect occurred.

Barretos to be brought back later this week

Date: 2014-08-20

By Lynn West on August 20, 2014 in News

Union County’s most famous fugitives, Janet and Ramon Barreto, are expected to be returned to New Albany this Friday or Saturday, Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said.

Since going to get the couple in Portland and returning them either by way of air or in a sheriff’s car would be both impractical and expensive, the county has contracted with Inmate Services Corp. of West Memphis to transport the couple. “We would have to send a male and female officer and it would be difficult to carry her in the back of a cage car,” the sheriff said, referring to Janet Barreto particularly.

The West Memphis company, one of several that specialize in transporting prisoners, will use a custom Ford E 350 12-passenger van with separate caged areas to return the two, keeping them in holding cells in jails overnight along the route. They were to leave Monday or Tuesday,” the sheriff said.

Transporting the couple will not cost the county anything because the bonding agent who was left on the hook by them to the tune of more than $900,000 has agreed to pay all costs, Edwards said.

Girls’ testimonies describe torture by adoptive parents

Date: 2014-08-16

Child Protective Services agents investigated complaints from three girls living at the Las Vegas home of Janet and Dwight Solander at least three years before the former foster parents were arrested on child abuse charges, according to recently unsealed court testimony.

In light of further details about physical and sexual abuse the girls endured for years, Clark County prosecutors have added dozens of new charges against the Solanders.

The alleged abuse began in January 2011 — the same month the couple adopted the girls who were in their care — and lasted into November 2013. The girls ranged in age from about 9 to 12 years old at the time, court records show.

Just after they were adopted, the girls said caseworkers visited the house and took pictures.

“They said that they wanted to talk to all three of us,” one of the girls testified.

It’s unclear what the caseworkers found at the time, but the girls said that the most severe abuse had yet to begin.

Adoptive father charged with child abuse

Date: 2014-08-16

By: Mike McIntyre

It was supposed to be a safe haven for a newborn Manitoba girl.

But RCMP say the infant was subjected to physical abuse by one of her adoptive parents in a tragic case that has left her facing an uncertain future.

Police broke months of silence Friday, finally providing details about an ongoing criminal investigation that began last May in La Salle, a quiet community on the southern outskirts of Winnipeg.

A 39-year-old man has now been charged with aggravated assault and failure to provide the necessities of life. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.

The Free Press is not naming the man at this time to avoid identifying the child victim, who remains in hospital and is now under the care of Child and Family Services.

The man, along with his husband, adopted the aboriginal infant when she was just a few weeks old this past spring. Police became involved after the girl was taken to a Winnipeg hospital with what RCMP say were critical injuries "consistent with child abuse."

Man arraigned on five felony counts for allegedly sexually assaulting adopted daughter

Date: 2014-08-15

By Danielle Salisbury

JACKSON, MI – A 45-year-old Blackman Township man who admitted to masturbating in front of and fondling his 5-year-old adopted daughter has been charged with five felony counts.

Jackson County Magistrate Frederick Bishop on Thursday, Aug. 15, arraigned the man on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of aggravated indecent exposure.

Both first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a penetration offense, and the indecent exposure charge, enhanced because the man is considered a “sexually delinquent person,” are punishable by up to life in prison.

As the man’s wife wept in the back of the courtroom, Bishop ordered the man held without bond in the Jackson County Jail.

His name is not being released because he shares a name with his daughter and the Citizen Patriot typically does not print names of sexual assault victims.

La Salle Father Charged After Adopted Child Abused La Salle Father Charged After Adopted Child Abused

Date: 2014-08-15

Charges have been laid after a child in adoptive care was assaulted and left with life-threatening injuries.

Manitoba RCMP say a 39-year-old La Salle man has been charged with aggravated assault and failing to provide necessities of life after an incident on May 25.

Police say the 10-week-old girl was taken to a Winnipeg hospital for treatment of injuries suffered from child abuse.

She was in the care of her adoptive parents when the abuse occurred. One of those parents is the one facing charges.

The condition of the child has stabilized, but police say the extent of long-term damage isn’t known. The child remains in the care of Child and Family Services.

The suspect has been released on a promise to appear in court on August 19. His name isn’t being released to protect the child’s identity.

Adoptive Parent Facing Charges In Suspected Child Abuse Case

Date: 2014-08-15

Bt Kim Lawson

A 39-year-old man from La Salle is facing charges in a suspected case of child abuse after his 10-week old daughter was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

RCMP say back in May, they were contacted by Winnipeg health officials after the infant was taken to hospital with injuries consistent with child abuse.

An investigation was launched and now, four months later, one of her adoptive parents has been arrested.

In the time since, the baby has stabilized, but the extent of possible long-term damage is unknown.

RCMP spokesperson Tara Seel says the girl is now in the care of Child and Family Services.

“You know, it’s very tragic circumstances. We’re just glad that we were able to conduct an investigation and get her into a home where she is safe and cared for,” she says.

RCMP say no other children lived in the home.

The man will appear in court Tuesday, August 19, on charges of aggravated assault and fail to provide necessities of life.

'Top 15 most wanted' fugitive couple caught in Oregon

Date: 2014-08-14

Therese Apel,
The Clarion-Ledger

A couple wanted since 2008 on numerous charges tied to the death of their two-year-old adopted daughter have been arrested in Portland, Oregon.

Union County authorities have confirmed Janet and Ramon Barreto are in custody. According to the US Marshals, the Barretos were located in a shopping mall around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday. They had a child with them at the time of their arrest which is now in protective custody.

A tip on Monday lead authorities to their location, Marshals said. The couple refused to identify themselves, but a digital fingerprint system was used to identify Ramon Barreto. Janet Barreto was identified after being fingerprinted at the jail.

They were charged in 2008 with child neglect, child abuse, tampering with a witness, and manslaughter in the death of Enna Barreto, and the abuse of six other children. They were each wanted for failure to appear on original charges of manslaughter of a child, three counts of child abuse, six counts of child neglect and tampering with a witness.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards says the U. S. Marshals Service located the couple in Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday.

Sonya custody case drags on as another birthday passes

Date: 2014-07-20

by Brian Haas

Five years of legal wrangling and blistering social media spats and this is what anyone has to show for it: Sonya McCaul, who celebrated her 10th birthday on Friday, is still technically in state custody.

The years-long battle for Sonya, a girl raised by foster parents in Dickson until a court earlier this year ordered her returned to her biological father in Omaha, Neb., has still not been fully settled. The Tennessee Department of Children's Services has legal custody of her while she stays with her biological father, John McCaul, in Omaha on a trial basis. The foster parents who raised her while McCaul was in federal prison, David and Kim Hodgin, continue to try to terminate his parental rights.

Despite all the attention paid to the case — which has tapped into the kind of raw emotions that often accompany custody cases, amplified by the uniqueness of the dilemma — they are running out of options.

More: Sonya's foster mother Haslam: Help my family

More: Dickson judge rules Sonya to stay in Nebraska

Mothers Who Kill Children They Have Adopted

Date: 2014-07-15

Frisco man convicted of murder, sentenced to life in prison

Date: 2014-07-11

Jacky Scott Garrett, 43 of Frisco, received an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole after the jury found him guilty of the capital murder of his 22-month-old adopted son, announced Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis.

Garrett and his wife Emily took custody of their son Logan and his twin sister in March 2011 and finalized their adoption on Sept. 30, 2011. Just eleven days later, while Emily was out of state, Garrett took semi-conscious Logan to the home of a neighbor, who was a spine surgeon. At the time, Logan’s body was limp, and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head.

Garrett described to the neighbor that he thought he might have knocked the breath out of his child while they were wrestling. After about 20 minutes, when Logan’s condition remained poor, 911 was called. Garrett minimized Logan’s injuries and described his child as “OK.” He stated he thought he knocked him out while they were playing. He later added that he might have knocked the breath out of his child a couple of times.

Biological mother of child found chained to shed wants him back

Date: 2014-07-07

By Lauren Squires

(WMC) - The mother of a child found chained up in a backyard shed says she wants her parental rights back.

It's a fight that came to a head last week when she saw her son being taken from his adoptive parents on WMC Action News 5.

Dionne Robinson had her parental rights terminated five years ago after she deserted her children in a drug-fueled haze.

"I had a drug problem back then and that caused them to take them," she said.

Now she wants a second chance at being a mom.

"It was very heart breaking for me. I just broke down in tears, because that's nothing a child should ever have to go through," said Robinson.

On July 3, Memphis police rushed the home of Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg on Gaywinds Avenue after a young girl called 911 to report that her brother was chained up in the backyard shed.

Child found restrained in Memphis home

Date: 2014-07-04

(WMC) - On Thursday, Memphis police say they found a child chained up in a backyard shed.

Six children were removed from the home in the 5600 block of Gaywinds Avenue. The 8-year-old boy is at the center of the bizarre investigation.

It started when police received a call from a sibling that the child was chained up in the backyard shed, but physically, he wasn't hurt.

"Just to make me think about it, it's awful," said neighbor Elaine Evans. "You know, we speak like you speak to your neighbors, don't try to get in their business, but they seem pretty nice people, but you never know."

Several neighborhood children said the boy was chained up at least once before when they wanted him to play basketball with them.

"Then he was like ‘I can't, I'm chained up' and I said 'why you chained up?' And he said ‘ask my mama,'" said one neighborhood boy.

Police contacted the Department of Children's Services, whose investigators joined officers on the scene for much of the day. DCS is working to determine the relationship between the adults inside the house and the children.

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