DCF report reveals more details about case of 4-year-old girl found dead in dumpster

A report by the Department of Children and Families found an allegation of child abuse against a South Florida father to be unfounded.

The report was obtained by Local 10 News several weeks after the mother of the children was charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter.

Court records show that Leon Paige and his daughter’s mother, Tina Farrington, 31, were embroiled in a legal dispute after Farrington accused the officer of abusing their 2-year-old son in June.

Farrington filed a restraining order against Paige after the alleged incident, claiming that he beat their son with a belt and sent him to day care with knots on his head.

She also claimed that Tania Paige had scratches on her face that were from her father.

The Florida Department of Children and Families opened an investigation, but found no signs of abuse.

“The child was very timid at the beginning of the interview, but after a minute or two she began to converse… The child did not mention that the father has done anything to her in order for her to be afraid of the father,” the report states.

Paige was not arrested. Police said Farrington admitted to suffocating the Paige with a pillow because she talked back to her. According to investigators, she placed the body in the trunk of car and later moved to it a dumpster at the apartment complex where she lived.

The girl’s brother is now in the custody of relatives.

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As Black Friday shoppers mobilize, retailers branch out

Black Friday shoppers are starting to hit the stores on Thanksgiving and they will be finding some surprises: toys and TVs at J.C. Penney, Barbies at Best Buy, kitchen appliances like wine refrigerators at B.J.’s.

As the holiday shopping season officially kicked off Thursday, retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy. But they’re also looking beyond economic data and mapping out ways to pick up sales from other retailers as Amazon expands its reach.

That can mean opening earlier than rivals on the holidays or even jumping into new product categories. The fight for market share comes as analysts at Bain say Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth. And Amazon is the top destination for people to begin holiday shopping, according to a September study by market research firm NPD Group.

“The retailers are in survival mode. It’s about stealing each other’s market share,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “Amazon is the Grinch. They’re stealing the growth.”

Marina Corado was at Aventura Mall. She was there for the 2 pm. specials at JCPenney. She will be going to Macy’s next and plans to be up at 5 a.m. Friday. 

With the jobless rate at a 17-year-low of 4.1 percent and consumer confidence stronger than a year ago, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December. The National Retail Federation trade group expects sales for that period to at least match last year’s rise of 3.6 percent and estimates online spending and other non-store sales will rise 11 to 15 percent.

Amazon is expected to be a big beneficiary as it cements loyalty among its Prime members and moves into new services and private-label merchandise. The company has introduced more than 20 such brands in the past two years in clothing, electronics, groceries and more, says Bain.

That leaves stores looking at rivals to see where they can pick up sales. There are extra dollars up for grabs this year, after thousands of store locations have closed and several retailers including Gymboree and Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection.

Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. division, said that the retail giant’s holiday shopping season appeared to be off to a good start. It got things going in the first minutes of Thursday with an online sales event that featured a range of deals from toys to TVs to slow cookers and Google Home mini gadgets.

“We are in good shape,” Foran said. “We have a bit of momentum and we had a good kickoff online, and with a bit of luck we are going to have a good 24 hours and be ship shape for the weekend, and go from here to the 25th of December.”

Target CEO Brian Cornell recently noted that up to $60 billion in consumer spending will be up for the taking in the next few years, and said the chain has been picking up market share in such areas as clothing.

The Thanksgiving weekend, when stores go all-out to attract shoppers, can be an indication of how well they’ll do through the season. About 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, intend to shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation. It expects Black Friday to remain the busiest day, with about 115 million people planning to shop then.

Stores like Macy’s, Target and Kohl’s opened Thursday evening as they try to woo early shoppers. Walmart starts deals in its stores at 6 p.m. J.C. Penney opened its doors at 2 p.m., an hour earlier than last year and at least three hours ahead of its department store rivals.

Judy St. Antoine, 60, of St. Petersburg, Florida, said she arrived at the JC Penney in her city about 10 minutes before the store’s 2 p.m. opening. There were already two lines of a couple hundred people each, waiting to get inside.

Mary Bergeron, 62, of Tampa, bought an oil-less fryer, a waffle maker and a steamer at JC Penney, and was headed back for more.

“It’s a tradition. We come here every year,” she said, adding that she’d eaten turkey at noon. “It’s crazy, there are so many people and it gets tense. It’s fun.”

Both Walmart and Target have been expanding their exclusive toys offerings. Walmart is throwing parties in its stores including ones where kids can play with new toys. Best Buy created its first toy booklet for the holidays. And in its Black Friday ad, the chain features Barbies among smart TVs and other electronics.

Chris Baldwin, CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, says it is offering more toys and clothes. In clothing, it’s offering key national brands in areas like casual athletic wear amid rampant store closures. And he says clothing sales are up by at least 10 percent as people don’t go to the mall as much.

“There’s no question that consumer spending has started to tick up and confidence is a little bit better, which is terrific, but we are also seeing some benefit from other retailers,” he said.

Your guide

– Here is your ultimate holiday shopping guide

When will the stores open? Here is the list

Want a new iPhone? Here are the best deals

Best and worst products to buy on Black Friday

 

Follow this story

As Black Friday shoppers mobilize, retailers branch out

Black Friday shoppers started to hit the stores on Thanksgiving and they will be finding some surprises: toys and TVs at J.C. Penney, Barbies at Best Buy, kitchen appliances like wine refrigerators at B.J.’s.

As the holiday shopping season officially kicked off Thursday, retailers are counting on a lift from a better economy. But they’re also looking beyond economic data and mapping out ways to pick up sales from other retailers as Amazon expands its reach.

That can mean opening earlier than rivals on the holidays or even jumping into new product categories. The fight for market share comes as analysts at Bain say Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth. And Amazon is the top destination for people to begin holiday shopping, according to a September study by market research firm NPD Group.

“The retailers are in survival mode. It’s about stealing each other’s market share,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD. “Amazon is the Grinch. They’re stealing the growth.”

Marina Corado was at Aventura Mall. She was there for the 2 pm. specials at JCPenney. She will be going to Macy’s next and plans to be up at 5 a.m. Friday. 

With the jobless rate at a 17-year-low of 4.1 percent and consumer confidence stronger than a year ago, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December. The National Retail Federation trade group expects sales for that period to at least match last year’s rise of 3.6 percent and estimates online spending and other non-store sales will rise 11 to 15 percent.

Amazon is expected to be a big beneficiary as it cements loyalty among its Prime members and moves into new services and private-label merchandise. The company has introduced more than 20 such brands in the past two years in clothing, electronics, groceries and more, says Bain.

That leaves stores looking at rivals to see where they can pick up sales. There are extra dollars up for grabs this year, after thousands of store locations have closed and several retailers including Gymboree and Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy protection.

Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. division, said that the retail giant’s holiday shopping season appeared to be off to a good start. It got things going in the first minutes of Thursday with an online sales event that featured a range of deals from toys to TVs to slow cookers and Google Home mini gadgets.

“We are in good shape,” Foran said. “We have a bit of momentum and we had a good kickoff online, and with a bit of luck we are going to have a good 24 hours and be ship shape for the weekend, and go from here to the 25th of December.”

Target CEO Brian Cornell recently noted that up to $60 billion in consumer spending will be up for the taking in the next few years, and said the chain has been picking up market share in such areas as clothing.

The Thanksgiving weekend, when stores go all-out to attract shoppers, can be an indication of how well they’ll do through the season. About 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, intend to shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation. It expects Black Friday to remain the busiest day, with about 115 million people planning to shop then.

Stores like Macy’s, Target and Kohl’s opened Thursday evening as they try to woo early shoppers. Walmart starts deals in its stores at 6 p.m. J.C. Penney opened its doors at 2 p.m., an hour earlier than last year and at least three hours ahead of its department store rivals.

Judy St. Antoine, 60, of St. Petersburg, Florida, said she arrived at the JC Penney in her city about 10 minutes before the store’s 2 p.m. opening. There were already two lines of a couple hundred people each, waiting to get inside.

Mary Bergeron, 62, of Tampa, bought an oil-less fryer, a waffle maker and a steamer at JC Penney, and was headed back for more.

“It’s a tradition. We come here every year,” she said, adding that she’d eaten turkey at noon. “It’s crazy, there are so many people and it gets tense. It’s fun.”

Both Walmart and Target have been expanding their exclusive toys offerings. Walmart is throwing parties in its stores including ones where kids can play with new toys. Best Buy created its first toy booklet for the holidays. And in its Black Friday ad, the chain features Barbies among smart TVs and other electronics.

Chris Baldwin, CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club, says it is offering more toys and clothes. In clothing, it’s offering key national brands in areas like casual athletic wear amid rampant store closures. And he says clothing sales are up by at least 10 percent as people don’t go to the mall as much.

“There’s no question that consumer spending has started to tick up and confidence is a little bit better, which is terrific, but we are also seeing some benefit from other retailers,” he said.

Your guide

– Here is your ultimate holiday shopping guide

When will the stores open? Here is the list

Want a new iPhone? Here are the best deals

Best and worst products to buy on Black Friday

 

Follow this story

Winning cancer battle: The Garcias start holiday season with gratitude

A day before Thanksgiving 2016, Claudia Garcia learned there was a cancerous tumor threatening to take her away from her family. The 42-year-old mother of two worked as a pediatric nurse. She didn’t want her anguish to ruin the holiday season, so she kept the life-changing diagnosis a secret. 

Her 11-year-old son Ryan said he suspected something was wrong. He noticed his parents were whispering and looked worried. After the holiday season, his parents told him they needed to talk to him and his teenage sister. He was sitting on the couch. His feet were barely touching the ground.

When they told him mom was sick, he said he felt there was “an explosion.” It was destructive –like the ones he sees in his LEGO Ninjago video game. But he looked at his teenage sister, and at his parents, and they were all calm. He didn’t cry. 

“It was very scary,” Ryan said. 

This holiday season, the Pinecrest Preparatory Academy student said he was grateful. After surgery and chemotherapy, his mom was smiling a bit more. Her hair was growing. He saw his father’s strength in action when he kept up with all of his mom’s duties — except for cooking. He said he was grateful his family and neighbors helped with that. 

His sister, Isabella, said her mom is the first person she goes to when she has a problem, so dealing with her breast cancer diagnosis was scary. The doctors at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center were doing their best to save her life with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy.

“Claudia received intensity modulated radiation therapy,” Dr. Anesa Ahamad, her radiation oncologist, said about a treatment that can form precise shapes to beam a high dose of radiation to a specific area. 

When Garcia postponed her 2015 mammogram, she said, she was juggling working at the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and family. After a 2016 mammogram and a biopsy, she learned a tumor in her breast was feeding on estrogen and progesterone hormones. The cancer cells had reached the lymphatic system, but not organs. 

“I was so busy and I didn’t think it could happen in my 40s, and despite everything I know from working in the medical field, I thought that was for women in their 50s,” Garcia said. “I have the best doctors and I am so thankful. I started to meditate with an app and dealing with breast cancer has renewed both our faith in science and God.” 

Dr. Joyce Slingerland, the director of Sylvester’s Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute, said once Garcia completed chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, she started hormonal therapy.

Garcia is among the thousands of patients who are participating in the PALLAS clinical trial, which Singerland says is testing the benefit of “a new targeted therapy along with standard endocrine therapy to prevent cancer recurrence.”

Ryan and Isabella aren’t following the details of their mom’s treatment. They are doing their best to stay focused on school, but coping with not knowing can be challenging. While playing volleyball and baking were both enjoyable distractions, Isabella said her mom told her she needed to rely on God more. 

There was so much the Garcia family couldn’t control this year. Isabella said going to St. Louis Catholic Church in Pinecrest to be with her uncles, aunts and cousins was comforting. She now prays regularly. This Thanksgiving, she said, she was also grateful for the support of her friends. 

“Being able to talk to someone, that made it easier to deal with the tragedy,” the 15-year-old student said.  

Ryan and Isabella said their dad really stepped up his game this year. Claudia Garcia agrees. They said Sergio Garcia, 44, didn’t let anything slip through the cracks at their home in Kendale Lakes. 

“Cancer isn’t easy. You need your family, your community, and you need to take care of yourself so you can be there for your family,” the busy father said. “I started a walking club in the neighborhood. I have learned to take deep breaths. The holiday season is the best time of the year and last year I didn’t understand why this was happening to us. ” 

In between her chemotherapy and her surgery, the family celebrated Ryan’s First Holy Communion and Isabella completed her sacrament of Confirmation. The busy father said he learned from a family friend whose wife was diagnosed with leukemia that it was important to stay active. He is now passing along what he learned to a cousin whose wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. 

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DCF report reveals more details about case of 4-year-old girl found dead in dumpster

A report by the Department of Children and Families found an allegation of child abuse against a South Florida father to be unfounded.

The report was obtained by Local 10 News several weeks after the mother of the children was charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter.

Court records show that Leon Paige and his daughter’s mother, Tina Farrington, 31, were embroiled in a legal dispute after Farrington accused the officer of abusing their 2-year-old son in June.

Farrington filed a restraining order against Paige after the alleged incident, claiming that he beat their son with a belt and sent him to day care with knots on his head.

She also claimed that Tania Paige had scratches on her face that were from her father.

The Florida Department of Children and Families opened an investigation, but found no signs of abuse.

“The child was very timid at the beginning of the interview, but after a minute or two she began to converse… The child did not mention that the father has done anything to her in order for her to be afraid of the father,” the report states.

Paige was not arrested. Police said Farrington admitted to suffocating the Paige with a pillow because she talked back to her. According to investigators, she placed the body in the trunk of car and later moved to it a dumpster at the apartment complex where she lived.

The girl’s brother is now in the custody of relatives.

Follow this story