Jorge Barahona has been jailed for the brutal torture of several children and the murder of 11-year-old Nubia Barahona. Jorge and his wife, Carmen Barahona, subjected their adopted and fostered children to unimaginable abuse. The couple routinely tied up the children, forced them to take ice or bleach baths, starved them, and made them eat feces and cockroaches. Jorge also beat and sexually abused the children.
Despite numerous reports of abuse, the Florida Department of Children and Families (FDCF) failed to intervene in time. When Victor, Nubia's twin brother, was found covered in chemical burns and barely alive, it led to the discovery of Nubia's decomposing body. Carmen pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse and received a life sentence after agreeing to testify against Jorge.
Jorge, however, pleaded not guilty and refused to cooperate. While awaiting trial, fellow inmates learned about the nature of his charges and decided to take matters into their own hands. They brutally beat him while he was sleeping, but correctional officers intervened in time to prevent serious injuries.
The assault on Jorge was captured on security footage, and five inmates—Oscar Martinez, Devaun Spaulding, Klauss Moise, Hakeem Drane, and Armando Verdecia—were identified and charged with the attack.
The scandal surrounding the case led to a $5-million settlement by the FDCF for failing to act on reports of abuse. However, financial compensation cannot undo the trauma experienced by the victims.
This tragedy highlights the failure of a system designed to protect children from abuse. Proper investigation and intervention could have saved Nubia and Victor from the horrific suffering they endured at the hands of their adoptive parents.