An Ohio mother of nine bribed her social worker with welfare benefits to look the other way in what turned out to be a shameful and sinister plot. After receiving a tip, the police searched the property and made a disturbing discovery.
Larissa Rodriguez was able to hide her heinous crimes, thanks to social worker Nancy Caraballo, who worked for Cuyahoga County in Ohio. Caraballo was assigned to evaluate the Rodriguez family’s nine children with special attention to five-year-old Jordan Rodriguez, who was disabled. Sadly, the social worker didn’t do her job. Instead, she allowed the mother to pay her off, and it cost a young boy his life.
“On at least 11 occasions, Caraballo falsified her reports to cover up the fact she had not been inside the home. As a mandatory reporter, it was Caraballo’s responsibility to report neglect and abuse to the proper authorities,” WKYC reported. Additionally, People Magazine reported, “According to Cuyahoga County officials, the social worker, Nancy Caraballo, did not visit the family’s roach- and bed bug-infested home because she was being paid off by food stamps — which were, in part, intended for Jordan, whose remains were found in Larissa Rodriguez’s yard.”
Christopher Rodriguez, Larrisa’s husband, had been in contact with his brother, who was in the military and stationed in Pakistan. His brother called the police with the tip that led authorities to find little Jordan’s remains. “Investigators responding to the call found the home in deplorable condition, and it wasn’t long before they uncovered that social worker Caraballo, a mandatory reporter of child abuse and neglect, had been buying Larissa Rodriguez’s food stamps at discounted prices and lying in her reports of her visits,” Clevland.com reported.
Through cellphone data and text messages, investigators found that on at least 12 occasions, Caraballo simply showed up to Rodriguez’s house to pick up the food stamp card, but she filed false reports claiming to have inspected the home. Caraballo was caught on CCTV video using Rodriguez’s food stamps to buy groceries at Sam’s Club, Walmart, Giant Eagle, and other stores, prosecutors said. The social worker paid 50 cents to the $1 for food stamps that were meant to feed the children and bought up to $10,000 in food stamps total.
“I’m so deeply sorry for what I have done,” Caraballo said prior to sentencing while adding she’s a “productive member of society” and claiming she “got brainwashed.” She was given a three-year sentence. Prosecutors then turned their attention to Larissa Rodriguez and her husband Christopher, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, child endangering, and gross abuse of a corpse, which was part of a deal with prosecutors to avoid murder charges. They received 25 and 28 years, respectively.
Judge Nancy Margaret Russo held back tears as she faced Jordan’s father, who allowed a boy to die, WKYC reported. “I don’t understand, Mr. Rodriguez, why you don’t want to cleanse yourself and tell the truth about what happened here. And I hope someday you do,” she said. Relatives described Jordan as a “sweet little boy who would have developed and bloomed into a special soul,” making what happened so difficult. New details released at the couple’s plea and sentencing revealed they had withdrawn Jordan from school, ceased medical care, and repeatedly told the family he was out of town.
However, the little boy never left and was likely the victim of physical abuse, reports say. Rather than getting help, the couple allowed his condition to deteriorate before burying him in an unmarked grave. “I have to imagine that at some point you got on the internet and said, ‘How do I bury a body?’ because this is unbelievable to me,” Judge Russo said during sentencing. “I don’t know how either one of you lives with yourselves.”
Jail-house letters between the shameful couple were uncovered by Fox News. “Many of the letters included a lot of steamy talk about sex,” the outlet reported, and featured headings such as “I miss you sexy” and “I want and need you only” while the pair referred to each other as king and queen. The letters only have spotty references to the case. For instance, “They trying to get one of us on the wrong side and for abuse,” and, “We sure ain’t kill our son flat out. They tryin’ to get us to turn on each other.” Multiple letters also included the phrase, “Us against the world.” Evil prospers when good people do nothing, or in this case when a greedy social worker looks the other way.