The little girl whose decomposing body was found in the back of an adoptive father [read monster['s pickup truck last week endured a hellish life punctuated by sexual abuse, hunger, bruises, hair loss and the lack of care for a rare medical condition.
The state of Florida thought they were saving little Nubia's life when they put the little girl and her twin brother in a foster home. Nubia and Victor were formally adopted by the foster parents, Jorge and Carla Barahona, in 2008.
The twins were born in 2000 to a mother who admitted to using drugs. She is described as being 18 and homeless.
After reports of abuse, the state wouldn’t allow her to see the children, and they went into the care of their biological father.
He was soon arrested and charged with sexually assaulting another child.
The records do not indicate whether the man was charged.
The documents released Monday redact mention of a specific medical condition, but they hint at a hormonal problem. Authorities confirmed to ABCNews.com that Nubia was intersexed, meaning she was born with both male and female genitals.
Despite her need to see doctors regularly, a caseworker wrote that her adopted parents simply put her alone on a "medical bus" and often failed to see that she made appointments.
"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.
In 2006 she was reported absent 16 times from school. In 2007 she missed two weeks of school "due to heavy bleeding.
Photo shows a happy Nubia
in her 2007-2008 school year
A spokesman for the Department of Children and Family said in each case there was not enough evidence to suggest Nubia had been abused or to remove her from her household.
"There is no specific threshold for removal. There's not a number of investigations that triggers removal," said Mark Riordan, the department spokesman. "If there is imminent danger to the child we remove immediately. But the preference is never to remove a child from the family."
But there was enough evidence, apparently, to remove her from her first family! Seems social workers are unable to think the worst of foster and adoptive parents, like they do those who give birth like any dog can!
Her Pleas for Help Ignored:
In perhaps the most disturbing of at least eight child welfare reports, in 2005 Nubia accused her foster father of sexual abuse, just months after being removed from the home of her biological father because she had been molested.
The sexual abuse investigation was dropped after a psychologist said there was not enough conclusive evidence that the girl had not made up the story.
"Nubia disclosed to [to the psychologist] that the foster father tickled her private parts," wrote a case worker in 2005.
How gullible are they?
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."
Another caseworker wrote, "A couple of months ago Nubia had a scratch on her nose. It is said Nubia scratches her nose a lot and that she is always falling."
Just days before the gruesome discovery of her body along I-95, a caller to an abuse hot-line [identified in another report as the Barahonas' granddaughter, unless this was an additional report] reported that the Barahona twins were being forced to stand in the bathtub for hours at a time with their hands and feet bound.
At her school
Joanne Muniz, who headed the Blue Lakes PTA the last two years the Barahona twins attended the school, said she and her husband, Alex, had discussed many times their concerns that Nubia Barahona, 10, was losing too much weight and missing too much school. Alex even shared his concerns with a staff member at the West Miami-Dade elementary.
Joanne Muniz said. “For a lot of us, this is really fresh. It will be cathartic for us to have a memorial service.’’
Ideally, the moms and dads who knew Nubia would like to raise money to help bury her, though child welfare administrators are telling them that may be impossible. As an alternative, they’d like to organize a memorial service, and already are gathering photos and mementos for a memory book they plan to give to her twin brother, Victor.
Under Florida law, Carmen and Jorge Barahona retain parental rights to Victor and two other foster kids they adopted. Jorge Barahona remains in the Palm Beach County Jail with no bail facing attempted murder and aggravated child abuse charges, so, as a practical matter, he will have little say over what happens to Nubia’s body. Carmen Barahona has not been charged with any wrongdoing, though at a series of court hearings child welfare lawyers have insisted that she was complicit in the abuse of the couple’s children.
To complicate matters, Florida law does not allow a judge to sever a parent’s rights to a deceased child. So Carmen and Jorge Barahona are free to do as they please with Nubia’s remains after the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office has released her body. The ME declined to discuss the case Tuesday.
“Every employee of the department, as every member of the community, has felt the pain of this tragedy,’’ said Joe Follick, the Department of Children & Families’ spokesman in Tallahassee. “We will assist with the preparation of appropriate memorials in any way possible.’’
The Barahonas took custody of Victor and Nubia around 2004, and adopted them about three years later — over the objections of a court-appointed guardian, as well as employees of the elementary school.
Records released by DCF this week show school staffers raised serious concerns about Nubia four times from 2005 through last June — saying they suspected the girl was being physically abused, starved, and allowed to become smelly, dirty and unkempt. DCF investigators dismissed the concerns each time.
Joanne Muniz said she and other parents had discussed the girl’s condition many times privately, and her husband had forwarded their concerns to the school once.
Melinda Arana, whose daughter Amanda was friendly with Nubia, said she and her husband also had discussed Nubia’s apparent lack of hygiene, and her ever-dwindling weight. Even in second grade, a year before Nubia was withdrawn from school, the Aranas had noticed the girl’s deteriorating condition.