Odette Joassaint spoke repeatedly to Miami cops, claiming they were aggressive and incoherent. It became horribly clear when they arrived. "Come get them, I don't want them anymore," she said, according to a police report.
Joassaint's own children Jeffrey and Laural Belval, just three and five years old were hog-tied and strangled when they arrived, and the discovery was profoundly distressing. Even veteran officers and homicide detectives were also concerned.
In her first appearance at Miami-Dade Court, Joassaint, 41, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and was ordered held without bond. Joassaint, who wore a padded blouse to prevent suicide, stated nothing during the brief proceeding.
According to Miami police sources, she told detectives hours after the killings that she had struggled financially and her "kids were suffering," and that they would suffer less if they were dead. According to a police study,
Frantzy Belval, the father of two children but separated from Joassaint, painted a picture of an unstable mother who had not worked for a year, and was begging to come back. He said he had always refused.
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Belval said, "You are crazy. You create too much problems."
The disgruntled Belval said the children had a full-time relationship with Joassaint, although they would normally visit him once a week on Saturdays. They loved me so much," he said. "Every week, I buy clothes for the kids."
According to official records, Joassaint's life was in jeopardy.
Belval had been chastised for a series of domestic discussions, including one parent's conviction at least once for domestic violence. Over the years, the agency's child welfare agency, the Florida Department of Children and Families, had launched a series of outspoken protests.
On Wednesday, the scope of the agency's involvement with the children was unclear. A DCF spokeswoman said the agency was developing a statement but it had not been issued until Wednesday evening.
It was Joassaint's own 911 call that brought Miami police to her apartment on the 100 block of Northeast 75th Street.
She was experiencing a mental illness and was depressed, said Miami Police Chief Michael Vega, who described the shocking scene. Two children were asleep on a bed, hands, feet, and necks tied together. According to a police report, Joassaint strangled each child with a red ribbon. Officers and Miami Fire Rescue fought tirelessly to revive the children.
During hours of questioning, the distraught Jossaint confessed to authorities. An appointed public defender could not be reached for clarification.
Joassaint had lost custody of a third child, a 14-year-old girl, according to the father of the children, a claim that was incomplete.
In March, Belval said, the couple had come to the attention of cops and state child-welfare authorities. No one was arrested.
According to authorities, Joassaint was detained for causing a misdemeanor battery in Homestead. She had bitten Belval, leaving teeth marks on his arm, and was "the primary aggressor," according to reports. Prosecutors ended up dropping the case.
When Joassaint was pregnant with their younger child, Belval was arrested in North Miami Beach on a charge of aggravated battery. During an argument over her being too long on the phone, he was accused of striking Joassaint, who sported a swollen eye and a small cut on her lip.
The Attorney General did not press the charges. Joassaint has refused to provide a statement to the police.
She went to a family court to receive a restraining order, alleging several incidents of abuse. Among the allegations, he threatened to pour boiling water on her, "brandished" his pistol, and threatened to shoot her.
A permanent injunction was issued, but was later withdrawn because to Joassaint's intent to prosecute the court.
Her petition stated in the other hand that the DCF "has (has) been involved in the past."
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