MIAMI, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A Miami man whose adopted daughter was found dead and her twin brother critically maimed in his truck fought a guardian to adopt them, Florida records show.
Paul Neumann, a volunteer guardian, had reservations about letting Jorge and Carmen Barahona adopt Victor and Nubia Doctor, the foster children they had raised for three years, and told everyone in the child welfare system who would listen, The Miami Herald reports.
The Barahonas asked an administrator from their foster care agency to intercede and wrote to then-Gov. Charlie Crist three times in 2007 and 2008. They accused Neumann of plotting with school staff -- who had reported suspicions of abuse -- "tampering'' with witnesses and violating their civil rights.
Victor was found in Barahona's pest control pickup truck along Interstate 95 Feb. 14, having convulsions and covered in unknown toxic chemicals. Nubia's body was stuffed in a plastic bag in the back.
Barahona pleaded not guilty Friday to Victor's attempted murder. He is being held without bail in the Palm Beach County Jail.
Victor and the Barahonas' two other adopted children have been placed in protective custody.
Secretary David Wilkins of the state Department of Children and Families said Saturday, "I can report to you today that Victor's progress is better and his medical condition is improving," The Palm Beach Post reported.
Speaking at a news conference outside Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami, where Victor is in the burn unit, he also said he would announce a team Monday to investigate DCF's response to the abuse warnings about the Barahona household.
On Feb. 10, the DCF child abuse hotline got a call that the Barahonas were binding the twins hand and foot and making them stand in a bathtub for hours. But the children were not found until it was too late.
DCF administrators have declined repeatedly to release records on the family.