The death of Nubia Barahona ranked as among the most horrific confluence of child abuse, unspeakable suffering and deadly outcomes on two adopted children ever witnessed by Miami child advocate lawyers and South Florida foster child abuse attorneys. Her sad story surfaced again recently as Jorge and Carmen Barahona were scheduled to appear in a Miami courtroom, charged in the death of their adopted daughter, Nubia.
The Miami couple adopted Nubia, who was 10 at the time of her death, and her twin brother, Victor, several years ago. Prosecutors allege the couple physically abused the siblings before they, along with Jorge Barahona, were found in Barahona’s pest control business truck parked alongside Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County on Valentine’s Day 2011.
In the back of the truck, Nubia’s decomposing body was stuffed in a garbage bag and awash in toxic chemicals. Jorge and Victor were in the truck’s cab. Unconscious, Victor had chemical burns on his body.
The two lived lives of constant and repeated physical abuse, being tied and restrained, even being kept in the bathtub of the family’s Miami home, Victor reportedly told police.
The couple now stands charged with brutally beating and ultimately killing Nubia. They have pleaded not guilty to the murder charges. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The state and the Florida Department of Children and Families already have settled with Victor Barahona for its role in his plight. The boy received $1.25 million of the $5 million settlement for damages claims. The Florida Legislature must approve the remaining payout.
Child advocates, foster care abuse attorneys and lawyers representing the state’s at-risk youth are watching this case closely. Signs of alleged abuse were reported by school teachers and other professionals, but the state never thoroughly intervened or investigated the claims.
Now, we’re left to hope – again – that lessons were learned by the organizations involved in this case and no foster children or adopted children will suffer the harm, injuries and abuse inflicted upon these children.