‘Nubia Way,’ child abuse hotline campaign unveiled in ceremony

By Bernardo Escobar….

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Commissioner Javier Souto help designate a portion of SW 47th Terrace as “Nubia Way.”

Miami-Dade County officials gathered on Friday, Oct. 21, at the corner of SW 117th Avenue and 47th Terrace to honor the memory of 10-year-old Nubia Docter, who was killed in February as the result of child abuse by her adoptive father.

Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Commissioner Javier D. Souto and fellow commissioners as well as personnel from various county departments renamed a portion of SW 47th Terrace “Nubia Way” as a tribute to the young girl. In addition, officials introduced a new poster campaign designed to inform the public about a child abuse hotline.

The poster depicts a teddy bear covered in bandages with the message “Speak Up! Your Voice Can Save a Child’s Life.” Included is the Department of Children and Families’ (DCF) hotline number 1-800-96-ABUSE. The poster will be displayed not only in Miami-Dade County government buildings, but also in Miami-Dade County Public School facilities.

Commissioner Souto drafted a resolution in May to bring more awareness to Nubia’s plight and that of children who suffered abuse just like her.

“The saddest part of Nubia’s story is that there were so many chances to take her and her brother out of this home where they suffered unimaginable abuse,” Commissioner Souto said.

“There are some people who voiced their concerns for Nubia’s welfare, but unfortunately in this case it was too late. As a community, we cannot let something like this happen again. There are children who may be in this situation now and it is up to all of us to remain vigilant in reporting suspected child abuse,” he added.

“Nubia’s short life serves as a reminder that we must do all that we can to combat child abuse. The pain and suffering she endured must not be in vain,” Mayor Gimenez said. “If residents suspect a child is being abused, they can call the hotline. Together, we can help prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again.”

Nubia’s story made headlines when her body was found in the back of a pickup truck on the side of I-95 in West Palm Beach on Feb. 14. Her decomposed remains were found in a garbage bag in the flatbed, while her brother was found in the vehicle covered in toxic chemicals. He was treated in Jackson Memorial’s burn unit. Their adoptive father, Jorge Barahona, also was  found unconscious by the truck.

Miami-Dade Police would later learn through their investigation that the children were the victims of abuse at the hands of their adoptive parents.

In 2004, twins Nubia and Victor were placed in foster care with Jorge and Carmen Barahona. Despite reports by her Guardian Ad Litem that there were problems at home, a nurse noting that Nubia had medical needs, and school officials reporting that Nubia went to school dirty, hungry, and crying that she was scared to go home, the adoption of Nubia and Victor by the Barahonas was finalized in 2008. Just days before Nubia’s death, a tip was placed with DCF reporting suspected abuse within the Barahona home.

If you or someone you know suspect that a child may be the victim of abuse, call 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873).

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