A Florida man accused of a gruesome acid attackon his young adopted son is a "danger to the community" and should be held on a $1 million bond, a judge ruled today.
Jorge Barahona, 53, did not appear at the hearing because he tried to injure his head and became uncooperative this morning, authorities said. Instead, Barahona was taken to a hospital for observation.
Barahona, an exterminator, is charged with aggravated child abuse. The charges were filed after police found him passed out from gasoline fumes next to his pickup truck. Inside the truck, police found Barahona's 10-year-old son covered in acid burns and his clothes soaked in gasoline. The boy was also found to have a broken collar bone.
Hours later investigators made another grisly discovery. The decomposing remains of the boy's twin sister were found stuffed in a bag in the truck's flatbed.
Circuit Judge Ted Booras said Barahona is "not only a flight risk but also a danger to himself and a danger to the community," and set bail at a $1 million bond.
The judge ordered Barahona to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Barahona was represented by a public defender. No plea was entered.
Barahona has yet to be charged in the murder of Nubia Doctor, 10, his adopted daughter. Her twin brother Victor Doctor is still in the hospital with severe chemical burns to his lower body.
His physician told a court Wednesday that doctors were having difficulty treating the boy because they could not determine the toxins used to burn him.
Barahona 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.
"The child appeared to be in respiratory arrest and trembling," according to the document. His clothing was soaked "with an unknown chemical."
Police say Barahona's story has been inconsistent.
As a criminal case unfolds, so too does a custody case to determine if Barahona and his wife should keep custody of their two other adopted children, who are mentally challenged. All four of the children were foster children being cared for the Barahonas.
Chillingly, 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 after 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.
State Hotline Received Abuse Call About Barahona Days Before
Judge Cindy Lenderman blasted a state investigator Wednesday for visiting the home, but failing to follow up and interview the twins or their younger siblings.
"How could we have gotten a call to a hotline on Feb. 10 and a child died" a few days later, the judge asked at the hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.