Carol Marbin Miller, The Miami Herald
2:10 p.m. EST, February 22, 2011
MIAMI — The pint-sized hero of a gruesome South Florida child-abuse scandal should be allowed to return to her childhood free from the prying eyes of even well-meaning advocates, a Miami judge ruled Tuesday morning.
The 6-year-old girl whose disclosures to a therapist set in motion an ill-fated four-day search for two abused twins must be left alone, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sandy Karlan ordered during a packed custody hearing in Miami's family court. Neither volunteer guardians nor foster care caseworkers may discuss the horrors of the girl's grandparents' home with her absent a court order, Karlan ruled.
The little girl, whose grandparents have been implicated in horrific child abuse, emerged last week as the only member of an extended family willing to blow the whistle on what the Department of Children & Families is now describing as the torture of 10-year-old Nubia and Victor Barahona. The twins were adopted by Carmen and Jorge Barahona after their birth mother and father were stripped of their parental rights.
....A DCF attorney asked Karlan Tuesday to order that the girl — who is not being identified to protect her privacy — remain in her father's custody. Neither her mother, Jennifer Perez, nor any other members of her family may have any contact with the girl, Karlan ordered.
....As she adjourned court, the judge looked at the girl's father, Yovani Perez, and said: "Take care of her.''
Wow. What a strange and different story.