Crime

Father of dead child left in a garbage bin is a Miami Beach cop

Tina Farrington
Tina Farrington

Months before she allegedly smothered her daughter to death in South Miami-Dade, Tina Farrington accused the father of her children — a Miami Beach cop — of child abuse, court records show.

Farrington, 31, was charged early Monday with murdering 4-year-old Tania Paige. Detectives say she “lured” the girl into a bedroom after she talked back to her on Halloween night, then hid the body in her car trunk for days before discarding the corpse in a trash bin at her apartment complex.

At the time of the murder, Farrington and the children’s father, Miami Beach Officer Leon Paige, were embroiled in a contentious legal dispute in Miami-Dade circuit court, court records show.

In June, Farrington filed for a restraining order on behalf of their 2-year-old son after claiming Leon Paige was abusing the child. She claimed that Leon Paige hit the boy with a belt and that the man had dropped the child off at daycare with “knots on his head,” according to a petition. He was not arrested.

Leon Paige is “abusive physically and psychologically,” Farrington claimed. She also contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families, which launched an investigation that ultimately found no signs of abuse.

A Miami-Dade circuit judge granted a temporary restraining order, although Leon Paige was allowed to have supervised visits with the children two times a week until the legal case was resolved.

How the ongoing family court fight played into her mindset during the death of Tania remains unclear. Farrington gave a full confession, Miami-Dade police said. Farrington’s arrest report suggests that Tania had long been the victim of abuse — bruises were discovered on the girl’s arms, legs and torso.

Farrington had other troubles. On Oct. 23, less than two weeks before the killing, Farrington was ordered evicted from her home at the Tuscany Place after she stopped paying rent in July. A judge last week signed an order allowing police to remove her from the home, although she had yet to be evicted.

She did not live with Leon Paige, who joined the Miami Beach Police Department a little more than a year ago. In a statement issued Tuesday, Miami Beach police asked that the officer’s privacy be respected.

“We send our deepest condolences and prayers to Officer Leon Paige and his family on the loss of his daughter,” the statement read.

Before his time with Miami Beach police, he worked for the Florida Highway Patrol. In 2016 he was involved in an incident on the Palmetto Expressway where a 40-year-old man jumped on the hood of a woman’s car.

Paige, an FHP spokesman told WPLG-10, was working an off-duty job with an asphalt company at the time and was forced to deploy his Taser to subdue the man. The man was standing on the car with a knife in his mouth and ignored the trooper’s orders.

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