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Timeline Of Deaths Leading Up To DCF Leader's Resignation

David Wilkins, Florida's top child welfare and social services administrator resigned July 18 amid an escalating scandal over the recent deaths of four small children who had a history of involvement with child-abuse investigators.

Read more of the original Tampa Bay Times article here


Feb. 14, 2011: Nubia Barahona, 10, of Kendall, is found decomposing in a black garbage bag in the back of her adoptive father's pickup truck. The state had approved her adoption by Jorge and Carmen Barahona, and then overlooked reports that the Barahonas were abusing both Nubia and her twin brother.

October 2012: DCF "screens" out a report that Hallandale Beach baby Dontrell Melvin's mother hasn't known his whereabouts for 15 months. Three months later, police unearth his tiny skeleton behind his parents' former home.

Jan. 17, 2013: Emma Morrison, less than two months old, dies in view of two crack pipes weeks after the agency receives a report that her mother had a fight with her boyfriend — while holding the newborn. All four of the mother's older children had already been removed by the state.

May 16: Bryan Osceola bakes to death in his mother's car, months after a child abuse investigator learned she passed out drunk behind the wheel, with the baby unsecured in the front seat.

June: Nineteen community-based care agencies (CBC) balk as DCF Secretary David Wilkins launches an unprecedented attempt to increase control over local foster care and adoption groups that had been created under former Gov. Jeb Bush with wide autonomy. Included in Wilkins' bid was a provision granting him authority to reject high-level CBC hires.

June 3: One-year-old Fernando Barahona stops breathing in his crib, two weeks after DCF gives him back to his mom despite suspected physical abuse.

June 10: Antwan Hope, 4, of Broward County, dies when left alone, against a judge's orders, with a mentally ill mother who once tried to smother him to death.

June 20: Two-year-old Ezra Raphael is whipped to death with a belt when his mother leaves him alone with her boyfriend, after DCF closes its investigation of her despite a finding that "risk is high."

July 11: Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Rosa Figarola blasts DCF at a court hearing over its failure to take any action to protect an infant who had sustained a broken thigh bone. Months later, the baby was hospitalized with a severed liver — as well as a healing fracture to one of his ribs.

Miami Herald reporter Carol Marbin Miller will be on The Florida Roundup, Friday at noon, on 91.3fm to talk about problems at the state Department of Children and Families.  

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