Jorge and Carmen Barahona's Alleged Beating Death of Daughter Called 'Subhuman'
Investigators Cite 'Constant Torture' of Twin Adopted Children
BY RUSSELL GOLDMAN
The grisly discovery of the little girl's body decomposing in a garbage bag was the last bit of evidence that Nubia Doctor's treatment at the hands of her adoptive parents was, as the prosecutor said today, "subhuman."
Arrests warrants and a news conference today detailed a short and brutal life endured by Nubia and her twin brother Victor.
Jorge Barahona, 53, is accused of punching his daughter to death on Feb 11 following a lengthy torture session in which the girl was kept bound at the hands and feet and left in a bathtub. Carmen Barahona, 60, is also charged with first degree murder.
According to court documents, the 10-year-old twins were subjected to months of abuse culminating in a torture session that ended with the girl's death just one day after state child welfare authorities visited the home and found no reason to intervene.
"On Feb. 11, 2011 in the presence of Victor, Jorge Barahona removed Nubia [from the bathtub] while her feet and hands were still bound and took her to [the couple's] bedroom. Co-defendant [Jorge Barahona] reportedly punched and beat Nubia about her body while she screamed and cried until she was dead," according to the documents.
Police describe a house of horrors where the children were "repeatedly hit, punched, beaten with multiple objects about their bodies and bound and left for days on end, locked inside the only bathroom in the family home..."
James Loftus, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, called the case "depressing [and] sickening" and described the ordeal suffered by Nubia and her twin brother Victor as "very organized abuse."
"I don't know how people justify this in their minds… this is subhuman," Loftus told said today. At one point, Loftus marveled at the allegation that Nubia and Victor were "locked in a bathroom days on end with no light."
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle decried "the methodical, systemic, constant torture imposed on these two beautiful children."
Barahona was initially arrested Feb. 14 after Nubia's remains were found covered in chemicals and decomposing in a bag in the back of his truck. Police found Barahona and Victor parked along a highway outside West Palm Beach, Fla. The boy, overcome by fumes and convulsing, was covered in chemical burns.
Barahona was originally charged with aggravated child abuse and the attempted murder of Victor, but it was not until this weekend that the couple were charged with first degree murder for the death of Nubia.
Victor remains in the hospital where he is receiving treatment for chemical burns that cover most of his lower body.
The prosecutor implied today that investigators waited for Victor to be well enough to interview, before pressing charges against the parents.
"Statements are being taken as we speak…. Statements were not taken right away because Victor needed a lot of medical attention," Fernandez Rundle said.
Nubia and Victor were placed in the Barahonas' custody in 2004 when state investigators took the twins out of their biological father's home after the man was accused of sexually abusing Nubia. The twins are sometimes identified by the last name of their biological father Doctor, and sometimes by their adopted parents' last name.
Nubia suffered from a cleft palate and a rare sexual dysfunction. Her treatment for the cleft palate was damaged, according to the arrest warrants.
Despite routine visits, state investigators repeatedly missed clues that the children were being abused in their new home.
In the days since the children were found, the state has removed two other children, a girl named Jennifer, 7, and a boy named George, 11, from the Barahonas' home and placed them in protective foster care.
Carmen's biological granddaughter, who made frequent visits to the Barahona home, told a school therapist about the twins' abuse, saying the children had been bound and forced to stand in a bathtub. The therapist then called a child abuse hotline.
The state's Department of Children and Families has come under increased scrutiny for failing to remove the children from the home, despite signs of abuse.
A case worker in 2007 wrote: "Nubia's hunger has been uncontrollable, she sneaks and steals food, steals money, has hair loss, is very thin, nervous and jittery. Nubia also has an unpleasant odor… In the past it is believed Nubia's adoption was halted when Nubia was coming to school dirty while in the adoptive mother's care."
"This child is very medically needy and should not be missing appointments because the foster parent does not want to take her," the report said.