MIAMI – The adoptive mother accused of abusing three girls, one of them dying while in her care, is still listed as a registered nurse in Florida and also has a for-profit corporation with the state Total Excellent Care Corp.
Gina Emmanuel, 50, who began fostering the children in 2014 and then adopted the three girls, ages 6, 7 and 12, along with their 4-year-old brother, is in jail facing multiple charges after she was taken to the Miami-Dade Police Department on Tuesday to provide a statement about the alleged abuse. She was subsequently arrested on three counts of aggravated child abuse, three counts of child neglect and three counts of psychological abuse. Police said she has admitted to some of the charges.
Emmanuel, who is listed on the Florida Department of Health website as a registered nurse and whose license remains "clear and active," also has no public complaints listed and no discipline actions on file, according to the site.
Total Excellent Care Corp Inc.'s status is also active and listed at 480 NE 111th St. in Miami, although no business is licensed by the state as a health or care facility, Local 10 News reporter Glenna Milberg reported. She was also a foster parent.
Because so many agencies would have or should have been involved with this woman, the question is how could the abuse have fallen through the cracks for so many years?
An arrest affidavit lists a number of child abuse acts allegedly committed by Emmanuel against the three girls. On Nov. 18, 2018, the 7-year-old girl was unresponsive at Emmanuel's home and was pronounced dead at a hospital two hours later.
One neighbor, who didn't want to be identified on camera, said that she saw activity at the house. "Around October or November, we saw a lot of cops standing around her house and an ambulance."
Another neighbor, Alba Guevara, said that when she saw the girls, they would say hello to her, but they were noticeably scared and acted timid.
Miami-Dade police homicide investigators noted suspicious injuries on the girl's body during the death investigation. They notified the Department of Children and Families, which began an investigation into the other children living in the home, according to the police report.
Two days after the death of the girl, two girls, ages 6 and 12, living in the home were examined and interviewed by child abuse experts from the University of Miami's Child Protection Team.
According to the report, numerous injuries from past beatings were found on their bodies, including healed marks and healed burn scars on their hands and fingers.
The girls told CPT that Emmanuel had beat them, along with the 7-year-old who died, with belts, a brush and a back scratcher for punishment, made them stand for hours at a time, tied their hands and bodies to furniture when they were unable to stand any longer, tied socks around their eyes, burned their hands and fingers on a hot stove and made them sleep on the floor if they wet the bed.
Also detailed in the report was an incident from "June or July 2018." The deceased child and the 6-year-old girl were punished after waking in the middle of the night while being made to sleep on the floor of the home.
Emmanuel allegedly became enraged when the two girls took bread that was intended for the woman's biological adult son. Emmanuel then allegedly woke the third child, the 12-year-old girl, so that she could watch the beating of the other two girls. Emmanuel, according to the report, then held the 6-year-old's and 7-year-old's hands on a hot stove repeatedly until they were burned.
"Their hands were permanently disfigured as a result," the report stated.
Soon after the punishment, the 7-year-old girl started to suffer from flu-like symptoms, but, police said, Emmanuel did not seek medical attention for the child. Doctors later stated that the girl's death was due to pneumonia and sepsis, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream.
Although she faces multiple charges, Emmanuel has not been charged with murder or manslaughter in the 7-year-old's death. According to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Office, it has not yet formally filed the results of what the cause or manner of the girl's death.
In the three years that it would have taken Emmanuel to adopt the children, DCF would have been involved, but the agency has not made those case records public, Milberg reported.