Florida Newspaper The Herald, Sues Florida DCF For Records In Case of Abused Twins
The Department of Children and Families is being sued by The Miami Herald over documents the agency is refusing to release regarding the abuse of two twins recently found on the side of Interstate 95, the newspaper reported on Friday.
The Miami Herald sued the Department of Children & Families Thursday, seeking records the agency has refused to release about a call made to its abuse hotline days before adopted twins were found — one dead, the other with severe chemical burns — in a truck on the side of Interstate 95.
The Herald is seeking documents related to DCF’s investigation into the Feb. 10 abuse hotline call about 10-year-olds Nubia and Victor Docter, who lived with Jorge and Carmen Barahona in West Miami-Dade County.
Four days after the call, Barahona, 53, was found passed out in his truck on the shoulder of Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach while Victor was convulsing inside the truck cab with severe chemical burns, according to investigators. Nubia’s decomposing corpse was found later, stuffed in a garbage bag in the flatbed.
Both children were covered with toxic chemicals.
As of Thursday, DCF had refused to produce records related to the call, despite requests from The Herald. The suit was filed in Miami-Dade circuit court and names DCF Secretary David E. Wilkins, DCF Communications Director Joe Follick and the agency as defendants.
“We believe these are public records,” said Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch.
Late Thursday, DCF’s Follick released a statement saying that law enforcement asked DCF to keep the details of the agency’s ongoing Barahona investigation confidential to avoid compromising the criminal investigation.
“We agree that protecting the integrity of the judicial and investigative process is not only the morally correct decision, but one that is enforced by Florida law as well,’’ the statement said.
Jorge Barahona was in a Palm Beach County Jail held with no bail on attempted murder and aggravated child abuse charges for what happened to Victor. His 60-year-old wife, Carmen, was free while police continued to investigate Nubia’s death and Victor’s abuse.
Florida DCF Sued By Newspaper Over The Release of Records