Their bodies were discovered by a family friend in a closet in their home. They had all been suffocated with plastic bags and Gladys and Julia horribly violated after their deaths. Soon after their bodies were discovered, Gladys’ 28 year-old estranged husband, the girl’s stepfather, was arrested and confessed to killing them. He has now been indicted on three counts of first-degree murder, kidnapping, armed burglary, and two counts of abusing human remains and is currently awaiting trial. Prosecutors may pursue the death penalty.
Gladys, Julia, and Daniela’s accused killer had an extensive criminal history including 15 arrests since 2000 for multiple marijuana and cocaine charges, drug trafficking, aggravated assault, soliciting a prostitute, grand theft, weapons possession and domestic violence. In addition, there was evidence of abuse against one of the children, which was dismissed by authorities. There were, in fact, several opportunities for the system to intervene and perhaps prevent the deaths of Julia, Daniela, and Gladys, but it appears that the system allowed each opportunity to slip by.
• Although a team of medical professionals concluded Julia had been the victim of “child physical abuse” — this only a year after he had allegedly bitten his wife during a fight — Miami-Dade police ruled that he had bitten the girl only “playfully.” The department chose not to arrest him.
• Though a child welfare supervisor recommended that DCF refer Machado for social services to promote the safety of her children, the idea was dropped six weeks later. “Children appeared happy and there is no safety concern for the children at this time,” a report concluded.
• Though DCF supervisor Osa Ogiemwanye, a veteran child protection worker, instructed an investigator to make sure the kids’ birth father petition a family court judge to grant him sole custody, the effort went nowhere. Michael Padrino did as he’d been urged, filing a handwritten request with the court. But when Padrino appeared at a hearing three weeks later, he was told his request was “moot” — because DCF had already given the children back to their mother.
• Though Sierra had a lengthy arrest record that included drug and domestic violence charges — and had the two biting incidents on his resume — he was allowed to move right back in with his wife and her three youngsters after leaving jail this summer.