Father of Victor wants to see son - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, Florida-

Father of Victor wants to see son


MIAMI, FL (WFLX) - Victor Bustillo hadn't seen or heard from his children, Nubia and Victor, in close to eight years, since the state took custody of the twins, then toddlers, after he was convicted of abusing a minor.

It wasn't until last week, when Bustillo saw news reports detailing how his daughter's dead body was stuffed in a plastic bag in the back of her adoptive father's pick-up truck, and his son was severely burned with hazardous chemicals, that Bustillo realized what had become of his children.

"This is hard," Bustillo said Tuesday outside his Miami apartment. "Imagine what I could be feeling right now."

The twins' adoptive father, Jorge Barahona, 53, now faces an attempted murder charge in connection with Victor's injuries. The boy was found in the front seat of Barahona's truck in West Palm Beach, seizing and covered in an unknown toxic chemical, and is now being treated at Holtz Children's Hospital in Miami.

Police and the state Department of Children and Families are still investigating Nubia's death. Meanwhile, two other children adopted by Barahona and his wife Carmen, 60, have been placed in a foster home.

Bustillo, 56, from El Salvador, said he did everything he could back in 2004 to keep custody of the twins, who had been under his care after the state terminated their mother's parental rights because of abuse, drug use and alleged prostitution.

"I never wanted to give up my parental rights, but they took my kids away," he added. "I did everything they asked me to do, but they took them away anyway."

Bustillo's criminal past and alleged neglect of his children, however, prevented him from keeping them. The state moved to terminate his parental rights in 2005.

According to the state's petition, Bustillo was an unfit father because of domestic violence, abandonment and medical neglect. Nubia was born with an unknown medical condition that required her to take medication, according to state officials.

In 2004, Bustillo was arrested and accused of pulling a 10-year-old girl into an apartment and touching her crotch in the presence of a 2-year-old child. The petition says that Bustillo admitted to molesting the girl in a taped confession.

The state Department of Children and Families decided at that time to place the twins with Carmen and Jorge Barahona, licensed foster parents who eventually adopted Victor and Nubia.

Caseworkers who visited the Barahona household in western Miami-Dade County monthly filed reports describing a healthy and nurturing environment in the family's home. But other records released this week show at least three instances in which Nubia's teachers complained the girl was dirty, bruised, unkempt or hungry.

State records released Tuesday are also unclear about the twins' mother, who allegedly used cocaine and opium. A 2006 court record lists her as deceased, but a caseworker in 2007 said the mother's whereabouts were unknown.

Bustillo said he hasn't heard from the twins' mother in years.

The past doesn't matter now for Bustillo, a fisherman by trade who lives alone in a small apartment near downtown Miami.

"I just want Victor to heal and get back to his life," said a teary-eyed Bustillo. "And then, I want to see if I can be with my son."

Bustillo cannot contact Victor, but he hopes his sister and brother-in-law, who live in Houston, Texas, can be granted temporary custody of Victor once he recovers.

Court records show the twins' aunt and uncle, Ana and Isidro Reyes, wanted to care for Victor and Nubia after Bustillo was jailed.

While Victor recovers, Bustillo said he is holding on to the images of his kids when he last saw them.

"Nubia was always smaller than Victor, who was a perfect boy," Bustillo said, adding that although they were twins, they looked nothing alike. "My Nubia, my Victor, I love my children."

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