The young son and daughter of Odette Joassaint were reported to be doing “fine” by a Florida agency in charge of monitoring the care of children in potentially unstable homes, despite the fact that the children had been killed the day before and the Miami mother was already in custody for their murders. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) employee logged into a computer system the day after authorities made the horrifying find, according to a Miami Herald story. Joassaint is suspected of tying up and strangling to death her 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter on April 12.
The agency’s visit to the father of the two small children, Frantzy Belval, on April 2 resulted in the retroactive log, according to the Miami Herald. Jeffry, a three-year-old boy, “likes to play, laugh, and grab things,” while Laura, an older sister, “is a quiet youngster [who] is well-behaved,” according to the department’s narrative. According to the newspaper, Joassaint, whose oldest daughter was unharmed, routinely ignored investigators and refused to unlock her door. The department appeared to condone her behaviour before claiming the children weren’t in danger.
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On the other hand, the agency did not assist the father, Belval, who continuously cooperated and wished to have custody of the kids, according to the Herald. According to a different Miami Herald report, DCF started looking into the family in 2017 after a “domestic altercation” between the mother and father resulted in a “large bite mark” on Belval’s right arm. Joassaint was then charged with domestic violence. A year later, following a report to the agency’s hotline, Belval was detained on charges that he had punched Joassaint in the head while she was carrying Jeffry.
As Joassaint became less forthcoming with the agency, the newspaper identified a number of potential red flags in its report, including those two instances. “They said they were going to assess Odette, they said. Belval informed the Herald that they never did that. “DCF is in charge of everything. DCF is in charge. According to The Herald, DCF staff members might have persuaded a judge to order Joassaint to undergo a psychological test. They could have asked a judge to issue an order compelling the mother to answer the door when the agency knocked, but they chose not to do so.
“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,” the department wrote in a statement defending their actions to the Miami Herald. Although DCF inspectors were heavily involved with the family in this case and made a number of treatment recommendations, the two young children did not have a history of physical abuse that would have justified their removal.
Also included in the statement was the following: “Still, you will learn from these records that while DCF employees worked with this family, they recommended many treatments that were eventually declined, even though those same programmes may have resulted in a far different outcome.” There are two murder charges against Joassaint. When police arrived at her home, she told them that she had strangled her two children with a red ribbon because “I don’t want them anymore,” according to a report from the Miami Herald at the time. She reportedly notified the coming doctors and police about the dead children by saying, “Come grab them.” I don’t desire them.