Body found covered in chemicals inside pest control truck - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Body found covered in chemicals inside pest control truck

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A man, who was discovered Monday hauling a body in a bag covered in noxious chemicals, was the adoptive father of four children, all under the age of 10, and he and his wife were currently under investigation for the way they treated their children, state officials said Tuesday afternoon.

Jorge L. Barahona, 53, of Miami was found about 7 a.m. Monday by the side of northbound Interstate 95 between Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and 45th Street, in a red pickup awash in potent chemicals.

In the cab with him was 10-year-old Victor Vocter, the oldest of the four children Barahona and his wife, Carmen Barahona, 60, adopted from foster care, said city police and Mark Riordan, a spokesman for the state Department of Children and Families. Victor was covered in "acid" and having a seizure, so severely hurt that he was rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center. He remained this morning in an incubator in the intensive care unit, said Chase Scott, city police spokesman.

Riordan declined to say whether the body found in the bag was one of Barahona's other children.

In the aftermath of events leading to the bizarre discovery, many of which police have so far declined to describe, the "remaining" foster children were staying with their maternal grandparents, under DCF protective supervision, Riordan said.

"We're in the preliminary stages of an extremely tragic and complex set of circumstances," Riordan said. "Our children's legal services team is working right now to determine whether we'll take the case into dependency court and to determine whether there's any further judicial action necessary."

Riordan said the Barahonas, who operated CJ's Pest Exterminator, Inc., from their home on Southwest 47th Terrace in Miami, were the subject of an ongoing DCF investigation into allegations of abuse or neglect, and "there were several prior cases of protective investigations," he added.

More information about those cases wasn't immediately available.

Apparently incapacitated on Monday by the chemicals in his truck, which authorities have yet to describe, Jorge Barahona was taken to Columbia Medical Center on Tuesday.

Carmen Barahona couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Chemical fumes hung so thickly over the pickup that forensic investigators from the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office still had yet to inspect the body this morning, said the agency's operations manager, Rus Ruslander.

Confronted with unknown chemicals and an unconventional crime scene, West Palm Beach police called in the FBI for assistance, said Special Agent Mike Leverock, a bureau spokesman. He added that the FBI is playing a support role while city detectives conduct their investigation.

Firefighters, police investigators and other officials remained by the side of Interstate 95 this afternoon, jamming the shoulder in a scrum that continued to snarl traffic.

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