Jorge Barahona Says He Poured Gas on Son While the Boy Slept in His Lap

Jorge Barahona pleads not guilty to new charge of attempted murder.

Feb. 18, 2011— -- Jorge Barahona described to police shortly after he was arrested how his 10-year-old son was asleep with his head in his father's lap when Barahona poured gasoline over the boy, intending to set him on fire.

Despite that statement, Barahona pleaded not guilty today to a fresh charge of attempted murder of his adopted son Victor Doctor.

The boy remains hospitalized with severe burns over his body.

The body of Victor's twin sister, Nubia, was found in Barahona's pickup truck, but he has not been charged in her death.

Barahona, a 53-year-old exterminator, had been charged Thursday with aggravated assault in regard to Victor, but that charge was upgraded today to attempted murder.

The suspect failed to appear in court Thursday to face the original charge because he tried to injure himself. He showed up briefly in court today looking disheveled in a blue prison jumpsuit.

Investigators say there are "inconsistencies" in Barahona's account of what took place in the moments before police discovered the Barahona and Victor parked along highway I-95 outside West Palm Beach. Barahona was passed out near the pickup truck and inside the truck police found Victor, covered in acid burns and gasping for breath.

According to an updated probable cause affidavit released today Barahona "stated he poured gasoline over his head while Victor slept with his head in [Barahona's] lap. Later in the interview, [Barahona] said he held Victor in his arms while he poured gasoline over his own head."

According to the affidavit, however, only Victor was injured.

"Upon comparing the injuries incurred by the defendant and the victim, it is evident the victim was not burned in the course of the defendant attempting to ignite himself. The defendant suffered no burns to his person while the victim incurred serious burns to his abdomen, buttock, and upper thighs," reads the document.

It's not clear whether the burns were from acid or from fire. The affidavit said the boy also suffered a fractured clavicle and a fractured arm.

The investigation into the death of Victor's twin sister, Nubia, is ongoing. The girl's body was found partially decomposed in a bag in the back of Barahona's pickup truck.

A judge Thursday ordered Barahona to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and bail was set at $1 million.

Child Welfare Agency Called to Barahona's House Days Before Attack

Barahona initially told police from his hospital bed shortly after his arrest that when he found his daughter dead, he planned to kill himself and his son. He said he gave the boy sleeping pills and planned to set himself and the child on fire. It was unclear when he allegedly doused his son with acid.

According to an affidavit, a Florida Highway Patrol officer who found the father and son, there was an opened five gallon gasoline container inside the cab and both the man and the boy were overcome by fumes.

"The child appeared to be in respiratory arrest and trembling," according to the document. His clothing was soaked "with an unknown chemical."

A physician treating Victor said it has been difficult because they have to determine the toxic chemicals used to burn the boy.

Police Thursday interviewed Barahona's wife Carmen Barahona, who is also expected to be charged. Besides Victor and Nubia Doctor, the couple had custody of two other foster children who are mentally challenged.

Records show that the state's Department of Children and Families was called to investigate the family on four occasions.

The most recent visit to the family's home in Miami came on Feb. 10, days before the incident. The state received a call to its child abuse hotline alleging that Barahona bound the twins' hands and feet and punished them by keeping them in the bathtub.

Investigators went to the home but did not see the twins or talk to the other children, it was revealed Wednesday in court.

"How could we have gotten a call to a hotline on Feb. 10 and a child died" a few days later, the judge blasted child welfare investigators.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.