Carmen Barahona, charged with murder, appears in Miami-Dade court
Carmen Barahona, accused in connection with the murder of her 10-year-old adopted daughter, made her first appearance in front of a Miami-Dade judge on Sunday.
BY JAWEED KALEEM
Speechless, sullen and looking exhausted, Carmen Barahona made her first court appearance Sunday afternoon in front of a judge to face charges in the death of her adopted 10-year-old daughter, who was found dead on Valentine’s Day along Interstate 95.
Barahona, 60, whose husband, Jorge Barahona, was found passed out with his dead daughter stuffed in a trash bag and her twin brother drenched with toxic chemicals along the highway in West Palm Beach, appeared in front of a judge from jail via closed-circuit television.
Judge Charles Johnson told Barahona at the bond hearing that she was charged with murder along with seven counts of aggravated assault and child abuse and also seven counts of child neglect, The judge set bond for the abuse charges, but not for the murder charge.
No family or private lawyer came to court Sunday and after the brief hearing, which lasted no more than a few minutes, Carmen Barahona returned to jail, where she will later meet with a public defender.
Miami-Dade police and prosecutors took over the death investigation after the son, Victor, suggested to detectives that his sister Nubia’s injuries were inflicted inside the family’s West Miami-Dade home. Victor was released last week from Jackson Memorial Hospital’s burn unit and is said to be recovering well in a therapeutic foster home.
Carmen Barahona, who had been questioned by police extensively about what happened to the twins in her home, was not charged until Saturday, when she was arrested by Miami-Dade police.
Details of her arrest, which was carried out under a sealed warrant, were not available Sunday. Miami-Dade police plan a press conference on Monday morning about the arrest.
Jorge Barahona remains in Palm Beach County Jail with no bail on charges of attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.
His wife’s court appearance came days after she filed for divorce. The woman’s divorce lawyer, who is not representing her in the criminal case, has said she was the victim of domestic violence and should not be held responsible for what occurred inside the couple’s home.
Before her arrest, Carmen Barahona had asked for custody of her three surviving adopted children, though they are all under the supervision of Department of Children and Families, which has placed them in area foster homes.
The agency has come under intense scrutiny since releasing a host of records detailing the twins’ abuse over much of their short lives.
In one case, the Barahonas’ 6-year-old granddaughter reported to a therapist that the twins were being bound hand and foot and made to spend hours upon hours inside a bathtub inside the family’s home.
That tip was reported to the DCF abuse hotline on Feb. 10, four days before Nubia’s corpse was found