Carmen Barahona, 69, appeared in court in 2011. She pleaded guilty to the murder of her adoptive daughter on Friday in a plea
A Florida woman pleaded guilty Friday in the torture of her adopted 10-year-old daughter nine years ago in a deal with a life sentence in exchange for a testimony against her husband.
Carmen Barahona, 69, pleaded guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse charges at the death of Nubia Barahona.
The girl’s body was found on February 14, 2011, infused with chemicals and dissolved in the back of her father’s pesticide truck along Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County.
The father, Jorge Barahona, 62, faces the death penalty if he is sentenced for the girl’s death.
Her twin brother Victor was also drenched in chemicals, but recovered and later told the investigators about serious abuse in their Miami area home.
Miami-Dade state lawyer Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement Friday that the conviction for Carmen Barahona will be delayed until she testifies against her husband as the agreement requires.
“By allowing her to introduce her guilty plea today and helping her husband to be persecuted, we are one step closer to helping the surviving child victim in this case to see justice prevail for him and his deceased twin sister, Nubia, “Rundle said.
“If she does not meet this requirement, she will be in front of a jury in front of a jury.”
The trial against Jorge Barahona is currently scheduled for April. He pleaded not guilty.
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Nubia Barahona, 10, died after her adopted parents allegedly tortured her and her twin brother
Jorge Barahona looks at his lawyers Mattie Fore and James Snowden during his hearing before circuit judge Sandra McSorely in September 2014. He faces the death penalty
The case upset the Florida Department of Children & Families because, despite countless complaints about abuse of the twins, nothing was ever done.
On February 14, 2011, police found Nubia’s heavily burned body wrapped in a plastic bag in the back of a truck near the I-95 highway in West Palm Beach.
Her brother Victor stood at the front next to his adoptive father, who had become unconscious. Victor had broken bones and was heavily burned after being immersed in acid.
An autopsy later showed that Nubia was beaten to death and both had been covered with toxic chemicals.
The couple is also accused of tying up and holding the twins for days in a darkened bathroom tub.
Prosecutors say they used to hit them, put them in trash cans, starve them, and torture them with weapons, including a shoe, a broom and a whip.
On at least one occasion, they allegedly placed a bag over Victor’s head until he fainted.
Victor also claimed that Jorge had closed his eyes shut on another occasion.
Nubia was adopted by Carmen and Jorge Barahona in 2004, although her teachers had previously called a child abuse reporting center three times to express concern about her well-being
Jorge Barahona’s truck sits next to I-95 while the authorities keep investigating the scene where he was found with his acid-splashed adopted son Victor in the front seat and the acid-soaked corpse of his adopted daughter Nubia in the truck on February 14 , 2011
Carmen Barahona made a plea on Friday to testify against her husband in exchange for a life sentence for the starvation, torture and murder of her adopted daughter Nubia in 2011
During the 2011 trial, the prosecutors said: “On 11 February 2001, Jorge Barahona, in the presence of Victor Nubia, removed from the bath while her hands were still tied and brought her to the bedroom.
“Fellow suspect Jorge Barahona repeatedly hit Nubia and slapped her body as she screamed and cried until she was dead.”
When the couple were first accused in March 2011 of first-degree murder, child neglect, aggravated child abuse and torture, they both pleaded not guilty.
The father claimed that his daughter’s death was due to her not taking her medication and that he fainted in the van because he doused himself with gasoline in a failed suicide attempt that his son must have sprayed.
Police found it was acid and not gasoline that caused Victor’s burns.
Jorge Barahona was placed in a suicide jacket during a number of court cases.
Carmen will testify against her husband Jorge Barahona, pictured here in 2011, who gets the death penalty if he is found guilty of murdering their daughter by beating her to death
The case drew attention to the Florida Department of Children and Families, whose social workers, despite repeated warnings and concerns from concerned teachers and family members, failed to address the well-being of the twins.
The Barahona’s cherished the twins for the first time in 2004 after being removed from their biological parents. Their mother was a drug addict and alcoholic, and their father was accused of sexually abusing another child.
In 2009, the courts allowed the Barahonas to adopt the children, even though they had an aunt and an uncle in Texas who wanted to raise Nubia and Victor themselves.
Between 2006 and 2010, employees at the Blue Lakes Elementary of the twins had also called the Florida child abuse to express their concerns about Nubia and its well-being at home.
None of these complaints were provided to the psychologist who decided that the couple was suitable to adopt the twins.
The couple also adopted two other younger children before Nubia’s death.
After the alleged abuse was brought to light, a social worker, Andrea Fleary, was fired for being warned that the children could be in danger four days before Nubia was found – but did nothing because she was not working at the weekend.
Fleary was already aware of poor performance, and was criticized by an independent research panel for not assessing children’s well-being.
Months after the murder, DCF announced that it would spend more money to recruit and train investigators, reduce the number of pre-investigators for children, and make more staff and resources available for a child abuse abuse reporting center.
Ultimately, the state Victor Barahona and his younger brother and sister paid a $ 5 million settlement to endure the horrors in their adoptive family.
The settlement was finally completed in 2017 when Victor was 16.
“They are signed for life, but they will have the financial resources they need,” said Neal Roth, a lawyer from Coral Gables who represented the children.
“It means that their future is financially insured.”