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Domestic violence plagued the family before the mother allegedly killed her children, documents show

MIAMI – A 41-year-old mother from South Florida was arrested last month and charged with the murder of her two young children.

Authorities found Odette Joassaint’s son and daughter dead at their home in Little Haiti.

State records of Joassaint, her children and father date back to 2017.

In November this year, the Department for Children and Families launched an investigation into domestic violence at Joassaint’s home.

Records show it was an abusive relationship

According to the documents, while Jossaint and her husband were fighting, she “bited his right arm and would not let go, so the father/lover ‘fisted’ the mother’s forehead with enough force that she let go.”

Joaissaint became homeless and stayed for some time at the Lotus House, a Miami women’s shelter.

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In February 2020, DCF received allegations that Joaissaint “did not take her medication for depression. There is concern for her continued ability to care for the children. She has delusional thoughts. She was acting bizarre.”

But in this case and in previous cases, DCF said no evidence was observed that there was an imminent threat to the children.

As recently as March this year, DCF documents show that the children’s father slapped Joaissaint four times in the face.

About a month later, on April 12, Joassaint allegedly killed her two children: 3-year-old Jeffrey and 5-year-old Laura.

Surveillance video showed the concerned mother pacing in front of her apartment.

Officers arrived at her home on Northeast 75th Street and the 1st Court to find Joassaint in emotional distress, possibly hallucinating and saying, “Come get her, I don’t want her anymore”.

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Police found the children dead in the home, face down and tied to a bed.

DCF sent Local 10 News a statement on the incident. It read:

“Every day, Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) staff have the difficult responsibility of protecting Florida’s children and only removing children from a home when a parent is unable to care for their children or could harm their children. In this case, DCF investigators were very committed to the family and recommended many services, but there was no history of child physical abuse of the two young children that would have led to their removal. However, you will learn from these records that when DCF staff interacted with this family, they recommended many services that were ultimately rejected, while those very services may have led to a very different outcome.

“For this reason, DCF recently launched the Family Navigator initiative to improve the safety and wellbeing of children in Florida after a potential child abuse or neglect situation was reported. When an at-risk family is assigned a family navigator, that individual stays with the family and quickly connects with services through providers and community organizations. This resource focuses on supporting family well-being, understanding the needs of families struggling with complex family dynamics, substance abuse and, in many tragic incidents, mental health crises.”

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https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/05/11/domestic-violence-plagued-family-before-mother-allegedly-killed-her-children-documents-show/ Domestic violence plagued the family before the mother allegedly killed her children, documents show

Joel McCord

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