A Florida agency tasked with overseeing the treatment of children in potentially troubled homes reported the young son and daughter of Odette Joassaint were doing “fine” — even though the kids were killed the day before and the Miami mother was already in custody for their slayings.
Joassaint is accused of tying up and strangling to death her 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter on April 12, but according to a Miami Herald report, a worker for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) logged into a computer system that the mother “reports everything is fine” the day after authorities made the gruesome discovery.
The retroactive log was from a visit by the agency on April 2, which occurred at the home of the two young children’s father Frantzy Belval, the Miami Herald reported. Three-year-old son Jeffry “likes to play, laugh, and grab things” while his older sister, Laura “Is a quiet kid [who] is well-behaved” the department’s narrative reportedly read.
The newspaper reports Joassaint, whose oldest daughter was not harmed, would regularly ignore investigators and refuse to open her door, which the department seemed to accept and then say the children weren’t in danger.
On the other hand, the father, Belval, consistently cooperated and wanted custody of the children, but the agency did not support that, the Herald reported.
DCF began investigating the family in 2017 when there was a “domestic disturbance” between the mother and father with a “large bite mark” on the right arm of Belval, according to another Miami Herald report, where Joassaint was charged with domestic battery.
A year later, Belval was arrested after he was accused of punching Joassaint in the head while she was pregnant with Jeffry following a call to the agency’s hotline.
Those two instances were of several potential red flags the newspaper outlined in its report as Joassaint became less cooperative with the agency.
“They told me they were going to evaluate Odette. They never did that,” Belval told the Herald. “DCF is responsible for all of it. DCF is responsible.”
The Herald reported DCF workers could have forced Joassaint to undergo a psychological evaluation by petitioning a judge. They could have also sought a judge’s order to compel the mom to open her door when the agency visited, but did neither.
In a statement defending their actions, the department wrote to the Miami Herald, “Every day, staff at [DCF] have the difficult responsibility of protecting Florida’s children while only removing children from a home if a parent is unfit to care for their children or is likely to harm their children. In this case, DCF investigators were very involved with the family and recommended many services, but there was no history of physical child abuse to the two young children that would have led to their removal.”
Additionally, the statement said, “Still, you will find from these records that as DCF staff interacted with this family, they recommended many services that were ultimately refused, while those very services may have resulted in a much different outcome.”
Joassaint is facing two murder charges.
She told stunned cops “I don’t want them anymore” as to why she strangled her two children with red ribbon when they arrived at her home, the Miami Herald reported at the time.
“Come get them,” she told arriving medics and cops about the dead kids, according to the outlet. “I don’t want them.”
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