Jorge BarahonaThe horrifying details in the case of Nubia and Victor Barahona pale only in light of the fact that the tragedy could have been prevented. It should have been prevented. Instead the 10-year-old girl is dead, and her twin brother's body is covered in burns from acid at the hands of their adoptive father, Jorge Barahona.
The girl's remains were found Monday stuffed in a bag in the back of a pickup truck parked along a Florida highway. Her twin brother and "father" were found in the same truck earlier in the day -- unconscious after what Barahona claims was a suicide attempt because he was so distraught over his daughter's death. The boy was doused with chemicals and convulsing when authorities got to him; he's currently in critical condition.
The twins were two of four children adopted by Barahona and his wife, Carmen, and there were plenty of bright red flags over the years that they shouldn't have been in the couple's care. As a CNN article states, "This story appears to magnify everything that could go wrong with a child protective system."
Several times since 2004 when the twins were placed with the couple, Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigated the family. Just last week a call to the child abuse hotline alerted the agency to the fact that the twins were being bound and kept in a bathtub as punishment. No one followed up on the case, and now a girl is dead.
"How could we have gotten a call to a hotline on February 10 and a child died" a few days later, a judge asked at the hearing.
Even before the children were adopted by the Barahonas, a guardian ad litem, who was on the children's case for four years, said it was a bad idea. But still they were adopted.
Family members also voiced concern. There were biological relatives that wanted to adopt them.
Why didn't anyone listen? How is it possible that so many grave mistakes were made regarding the lives of these children?
Jorge is being held on a $1 million bond and has been charged with aggravated child abuse. Carmen hasn't been charged with anything, though her complete innocence or lack of knowledge as to what was going on is unlikely.
There will be no sufficient answers to how such an atrocity could be allowed to happen, but someone needs to try and provide them so that it doesn't happen again.
How do you think something like this happens?
Image via Mel B./Flickr