Police: father confesses to trying to kill son and himself

Date: 2011-02-16
Source: wsvn.com

MIAMI (WSVN) -- A father has confessed to police he tried to kill his 10-year-old son and himself, on the side of Interstate 95, while the body of the boy's twin sister was stashed in the back of his pickup truck.

Two days after the discovery of the truck, which was filled with unknown chemicals, it remains unknown how that boy's twin sister actually died. Meanwhile, the boy had to be airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital for continued treatment for burns sustained from an unknown chemical poured on him.

At around 7 a.m. Wednesday, the child was sent to specialists at JMH's burn unit. Doctors at the West Palm Beach hospital he was originally transported to feared the chemical he was doused with may be spreading in his body.

Police have already charged 53-year-old Jorge Barahona with aggravated child abuse. Authorities expect to file more charges, as the investigation continues.

Meanwhile, his wife, Carmen Barahona attended a dependency hearing later Wednesday afternoon, where a judge stripped her and her family of custody of their three surviving adopted children. When the mother asked the judge to allow the kids to stay with a family friend, the judge said, "Anyone who knew anything will never have contact with these kids again. Ever."

The mother entered a Miami-Dade Count courtroom covering her face from media cameras and reporters asking for comment. She would not say a word. During the hearing she spoke little, continuing to hide behind a sheet of paper, as reporters and cameras had crowded inside to record the testimony. Most of the talking during the hearing was done by officials with the Department of Children and Families.

According to the Department of Children and Families, a tip came into their hotline that there had been abuse at the Barahona household. The anonymous tipster said children at the home were being tied up and kept in the home's bathroom. According to officials, the source of the allegations came from a 7-year-old girl. She said the children at the home, ranging in ages from 7 to 11, were only untied to eat.

According to a police affidavit released Wednesday morning, the father admitted to investigators several disturbing details behind the scene first discovered by a road ranger on I-95, at around 7:30 Monday morning. They said he admitted to them he placed the girl's body in the back of that truck, found on the side of the highway, north of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.

That crime scene remained active for several days, and even lead to the closure of northbound I-95, near the exit to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard. Police had to close the highway during the evening commute Wednesday for several minutes as the bomb squad removed containers filled with dangerous chemicals still inside the pickup truck. "In the next few minutes I-95 northbound will be closed down," said Chase Scott of the West Palm Beach Police Department. "We have discovered a volatile chemical that needs to be addressed."

According to the report, Barahona pulled the vehicle to the side of the road, so he could be seen. Police said, Barahona gave his son, sitting in the passenger seat next to him, sleeping pills. Police said they found more sleeping pills inside the truck.

A road ranger would later notice the pesticide truck by the side of the highway with the father unconscious, outside, next to the truck. The road ranger would look inside the truck's cabin to notice the 10-year-old boy in the passenger seat, doused in an unknown chemical. Next to him sat an open five-gallon gas tank. He was also found with other injuries. Finally, according to the report, Barahona also admitted he had intended to kill himself.

Heavily-suited workers with the Department of Environmental Protection would search the truck due to the chemicals found inside. One of those workers would find a black plastic bag with a human limb sticking out of it. "There was some deterioration. That's about as far as we can go at this time," said Scott, at the scene during a news conference.

Barahona and his son were rushed to two separate hospitals. Tuesday, police said, they finally interviewed Barahona. They said he admitted he was distraught over his daughter's death and intended to commit suicide. Barahona told police he pulled over to a visible area and gave his son a handful of sleeping pills.

According to the police report, Barahona placed the boy's head on his lap, so he could go to sleep. In the report, police write, "Jorge said, [his son's] head remained on his lap as he sat in the vehicle's driver's seat pouring gasoline over his own head from the five-gallon gas tank. Jorge intended to ignite a lighter to set himself on fire, but he could not do it because [his son] was present."

Tuesday, two of the Barahonas' other adopted children were taken into custody by Miami-Dade Police and officials with DCF from a relatives' home at 10320 SW 54 St. in Southwest Miami-Dade. According to DCF, these children were in the foster system before they were adopted by the Barahonas over the course of about 10 years.

On Friday, a DCF representative went to the home after the alleged tip of the abuse. She later returned to the office with plans to investigate further on Monday morning. That morning turned out to be the day officials found the body of one of the children in a truck by the side of the road, with another one seriously injured.

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