Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Custodial dad charged with abuse of 10-year-old son; boy has "serious" acid burns and twin sister is "missing" (West Palm Beach, Florida)

This is a very mysterious case indeed. And in more ways than one. It appears we have a custodial father, GEORGE BARAHONA, who adopted a 10-year-old boy (and the boy's twin sister, it seems). The boy was found in a pesticide truck suffering from seizures and severe acid burns, apparently from pesticides or some other hazardous material. Dad was also found in rough shape, which suggests a possible murder-suicide attempt. And then, just to complicate things, ANOTHER DEAD BODY was found in a plastic bag inside the truck. This person has not been identified as acid had apparently been poured over the body and there was significant deterioration. Is this the twin sister, who has been reported as missing?

Now here's the really mysterious part. This family--Barahona and his wife--have been subjected to previous Florida DCF investigations for child abuse and neglect. Though obviously nothing really ever came of it.

So how was this kind of idiot able to adopt these kids? Who approved it and why?

And why did the MOTHER of these children lose physical custody? Seriously, you want to make the argument that Barahona was a better choice? Doesn't look like there's much evidence of that now, huh?

This is looking like one of those adoption deals where there was a little funny business going on, and maybe some cash passing under the table. Not that the press will go near this with the proverbial ten-foot pole....

Hat tip to C.

Police charge father with child abuse

Posted: Today at 6:20 am EST Last Updated: Today at 7:18 am EST

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- A mysterious death investigation involving hazardous materials and an injured father and son has led to officials taking several children into custody.

In addition to an investigation by the Department of Children and Families, police have opened a criminal investigation into the death of a person found inside a pesticide truck found on the side of the highway, early Monday morning. Tuesday afternoon, the FBI and other agencies were at the scene where the vehicle still sat by the side of road, on Interstate 95, north of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard.

Monday morning, West Palm Beach Fire Rescue crew members rescued a man and his son suffering acid burns from the truck. Three firefighters and a police officer needed to be hospitalized for exposure to the acid soon after the rescue.

Officials had found 53-year-old George Barahona and his adopted 10-year-old son Victor Vocter inside the cabin of the immobile truck and a body in a bag on the truck's bed, at around 7:30 a.m. Monday. "It was a pesticide truck, and there were a variety of contaminants in the vehicle that caused the young boy to have a seizure and caused the father to have medical conditions," said Chase Scott of the West Palm Beach Police Department.

Barahona and Vocter remain hospitalized in serious condition. Vocter has since been quarantined and incubated in intensive care, suffering from serious acid burns to his body. When Vocter arrived at St. Mary's Hospital, several employees were affected by the chemical smell on his body. Lori Stallings of St. Mary's Hospital said, "The product could cause irritation to the ears or to the skin, and they were quite easily taken care of. They washed it off."

According to West Palm Beach Police, crews later discovered the dead body in a plastic bag during the search of the truck, by heavily suited workers with the Department of Environmental Protection. Scott said the dead body found inside the truck's covered bed was also found to have acid poured on it. "There was some deterioration. That's about as far as we can go at this time," Scott said.

The body has been removed from the truck, and the medical examiner will determine the identity of the victim.

Barahona has been arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse because of what he allegedly did to Vocter. He remains at the hospital in intensive care, but he is under constant police watch. According to police, once Barahona is cleared by doctors, he will go to jail. Scott said, "It's a very complicated investigation, and it's very unusual. Even people in the law enforcement community say that this is a very unique situation."

According to police, more charges may soon follow; they are not ruling out the possibility that Barahona may be charged with murder.

Officials said Vocter's twin sister is missing and has not yet been accounted for.

Meanwhile, as police investigated the scene in West Palm Beach, DCF arrived at the home of the maternal grandmother of four children related to Barahona to question relatives. Two young children were led out of the home by investigators. A family friend said, "It's tragic for the family, but I can't tell you anything, because I don't know anything. They're doing very bad. We don't know what happened."

Mark Riordan, the director of communications at the Department of Children and Families said his department knows this family well. "We have had a prior history with the family, yes. I can't characterize the nature of those investigations, but we have had prior involvement with the family," said Riordan.

Police along with DCF officials descended on the home at 10320 SW 54 St. Inside was the wife of Barahona, Carmen Barahona. The family actually lives at Southwest 115th Street and 47th Terrace. Late Monday night, police and the bomb squad swarmed that home to investigate. "Carmen is in very bad shape," the family friend said.

According to DCF, the Barahona's were the subject of ongoing investigations for allegations of child abuse or neglect. "Several times we've been out to the home," said Riordan. "Over the course of their foster relationship and since adoption."

The children range from 7 to 11 years old, and the family adopted them over the course of 10 years. Riordan also noted that the mother does not currently have physical custody of children. They are in the homes of other relatives, however.

A court hearing has been set for Wednesday afternoon to determine who should care for these children from here on out.