MIAMI – A Florida boy who was critically injured when he was doused in chemicals, allegedly by his father, is improving in condition, a state official said Saturday.
But state Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins sidestepped questions about whether the department could have done more to prevent the alleged abuse of 10-year-old Victor Barahona, who was found clinging to life in his father's extermination truck parked on the side of a highway. The body of his twin sister was later discovered in the back seat.
"I wish I could answer that question of how it could happen, and in the next several weeks we will," Wilkins said.
At a news conference Saturday, Wilkins read a short statement filled with statistics on the number of children in state foster care, the number of investigations his department undertakes, and the number of children it serves. He took questions for about two minutes.
"I commit to you to be fully transparent," he said before leaving.
Wilkins said Victor's condition was better, but he declined to elaborate, citing patient confidentiality rules. The cause of death of the boy's sister, Nubia, has not yet been released.
The children's' father, Jorge Barahona, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse with a weapon. Police say he told investigators he loaded his dead daughter into the truck, got into the pickup with his son and planned to kill himself.
The boy was found convulsing in seizures, overcome by the toxins. The father was nearby on the ground, unresponsive.
Barahona pleaded not guilty Friday and is being held without bail.