Entries in Chemicals (3)


Cops Excavate Yard of Man Accused of Attacking Son with Chemicals

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Police in Florida are digging up the backyard of the home belonging to Jorge Barahona, an adopted father of four accused of trying to kill one of his sons and the primary suspect in the death of his daughter.

Investigators would not say what they were looking for in the yard. Barahona, a 53-year-old exterminator, is accused of severely burning his 10-year-old son Victor Doctor with toxic chemicals. The body of the boy's twin sister Nubia was found in the man's truck, badly decomposed.

"This is part of an ongoing investigation. We're building a case and cannot comment," said West Palm Police spokesman Chase Scott.

Police found Victor on Feb. 14 covered in chemical burns and overcome by toxic fumes. Hours later in the bed of the pickup truck where Victor was found, authorities discovered the remains of Nubia Doctor, decomposing in a garbage bag.

Barahona has been charged with the attempted murder of Victor. No charges have been filed in Nubia's death.

A health department physician told a Miami family court on Wednesday that Victor could be released from the hospital as early as Friday.

"He's really doing well," Dr. Walter Lambert told the court.

Lambert said the boy was well enough to bathe himself, had asked about his parents and requested a hamburger.

"He has asked what I think are very good questions about what is going on," Lambert said.

Once released from the hospital, Victor will be placed in a therapeutic foster home. Officials hope to put the boy back in school, after being home schooled with his other siblings for over a year.

In the days since the children were found, the state has removed two other children, a girl named Jennifer, 7, and a boy named George, 11, from Barahona's home and placed them in protective foster care.

Jennifer is believed to have tipped a relative off to the twin's abuse just days before they were found in Barahona's truck. That family member called the state's child abuse hotline to report the twins had been bound at their hands and feet, beaten and forced to stand in a bathtub.

At a hearing Wednesday, state officials said Jennifer and George had been deprived of medical and dental care, allegations similar to those found in documents released this week by the Florida Department of Children and Families reporting on Nubia's health.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


A Deadly Chemical and Dismal Safety Records Put Millions at Risk

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oil industry documents filed with the federal government reveal that an accidental release of a lethal chemical used in 50 aging refineries across the country could prove devastating, with 16 million Americans living within range of toxic plumes that could spread for miles.

Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and the stretch of Texas coastline known as "Refinery Row" are among the at-risk areas cited in the documents. Citing homeland security concerns, the government keeps the industry filings under close guard in Washington, D.C. They were reviewed as part of a joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity.

There are safer alternatives for the chemical hydrofluoric acid, which is used to make high-grade gasoline, but the industry has resisted calls to stop using it. An industry spokesman told ABC News it would not be feasible to retrofit the refineries to use the safer approach. Federal officials tell ABC News, however, that the real impediment may be money-- estimating it would cost about $50 million for the companies to upgrade each plant.

According to the industry's worst-case scenario documents, a release of the chemical could endanger entire communities.

"Hydrofluoric acid is extremely toxic," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington. "It can be deadly immediately to workers around them, it can affect an entire community."

Murray called the situation "a ticking time bomb."

Even though one-third of the oil refineries in the United States are using the chemical, Murray told ABC News that the industry has long avoided demands from safety advocates and from the union that represents refinery workers that it explore safer options.

"For three hours of revenue an oil company can change the use of hydrochloric acid to make it safer for the workers and the community," Murray said. "Certainly that kind of investment assures people are safe when they go to work and the communities, the people who live around those refineries, are protected. It's worth it." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Doctors Struggle to Heal Boy Burned by Father in Acid Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.) -- Doctors are having difficulty treating a 10-year-old boy whose father doused him with acid because they cannot determine precisely which chemicals were used to burn him. He was found in the same truck where the man allegedly hid the remains of the boy's dead sister.

The boy, Victor Doctor, is in critical condition at a Florida hospital suffering from burns below the waist. His physician, Dr. Walter Lambert, told a Florida court that the boy's condition is worsening because doctors have not figured out what chemicals they are trying to neutralize.

Police on Monday were called to investigate a pickup truck pulled over on the side of Interstate 95 near West Palm Beach, Fla. Inside the cab they found the boy and his father, Jorge Barahona, 53.

Both were covered in chemical burns and gasoline and overcome by toxic fumes.

Hours later, while cleaning the truck of toxic chemicals, they discovered the remains of Victor's twin sister, setting off an investigation into the children's adoptive parents and revealing missed clues that Barahona was abusing his children.

Barahona now faces charges of aggravated child abuse, with more charges likely to follow. He remains in the hospital.

Barahona and his wife adopted two other younger children. All four children were foster kids before their adoption.

On Wednesday, a Florida court held a hearing to determine the custody of Barahona's two other children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio