Mother of twins found in toxic truck charged

A truck, covered by police, is parked by the side of I-95 near West Palm Beach, Fla., with plastic Wednesday, Feb. 16 2011 after police discovered it was filled chemicals and a body. A 10-year-old girl whose badly deteriorated body was discovered in her father's pesticide truck is the twin of a boy discovered hours earlier in the vehicle, critically injured after being doused in acid by his father, an official said Wednesday. The pickup truck was found Monday along the side of Interstate 95. But because of the toxic fumes, the girl's body wasn't located until hours later, wrapped in plastic bags, wedged between chemical containers in the pickup truck's bed, according to the official familiar with the children's case. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

March 5, 2011 6:38:21 PM PST
The mother of a 10-year-old girl who was found dead in an exterminator's truck in Florida was charged Saturday with murder, and faces numerous other abuse and neglect accusations. Carmen Barahona was arrested in the death of Nubia Barahona, the Miami-Dade Police Department announced nearly three weeks after the girl was found in the pickup along Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach. She was wrapped in plastic and had been doused with a toxic chemical.

Her twin brother, Victor, was in the front seat, critically burned by a chemical, authorities said, and their father was lying on the ground nearby, unresponsive. Police said the father doused the boy with a chemical so toxic it sickened rescue workers.

The father, Jorge Barahona, also apparently put gasoline on himself in what he later told police was a futile suicide attempt by setting himself on fire.

Jorge Barahona has pleaded not guilty to attempted first-degree murder in the injury of Victor, who has been released from the hospital.

Authorities haven't said how Nubia was killed.

Carmen Barahona also faces seven counts of aggravated child abuse and seven counts of child neglect. Her attorney didn't immediately respond to an e-mail, and police refused to elaborate on what led to the charges. The head of the police department was expected to talk to the media Monday, according to the agency's news release.

State child welfare officials have come under heavy criticism over missed opportunities to help the twins after an anonymous abuse allegation was called into a hotline Feb. 10 -- four days before the children were found.

The caller said the twins' feet and hands were bound with duct tape and they were kept in a bathtub as punishment. Child welfare officials also believe the girl was being starved.

The officials have described a disturbing picture of a Jorge and Carmen Barahona, who adopted the twins, an 11-year-old autistic boy and a 7-year-old girl from foster care. The couple has been the focus of at least three abuse allegations in the past several years, but nothing ever came of them.