Roman Barreras
July 14, 2010 - 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

In Tucson, Arizona, a landlord evicted a family for being behind in rent. The Barrearas family, which was supposed to consist of two adults and two children, had been living in the two bedroom apartment for less than one year when they were evicted. One surprise was that seven people were actually living in the cramped space, another surprise was that they left the home in such a mess, they would have to do a lot of cleaning to get the place to where someone could rent it. In the laundry room was the biggest and most tragic surprise of all. Blankets which were wet from rain, were stacked on top of a plastic toy trunk and the landlords almost threw it out, thank God they didn't:

"There was a lot of trash around it, blankets and boxes of clothes there wet. We were putting all
this stuff in trash bags to take to the dumpster"

The landlord stated that they almost didn't even open the box because they assumed it was full of trash or other wet clothing and blankets, someone tugged at the blankets on top and a child's skeleton appeared:

"The shock, it's surreal, you look and you're like, could this really be"

A child had gone missing about two years prior to the finding of this skeleton, but Police didn't believe the remains to be that of Isabel Celis. Many questions were raised and neighbors were upset saying they didn't expect things like that to happen in their neighborhood. It was impossible to tell if the remains were that of a boy or a girl, or how long they had been there, but it appeared that the child had been there a long time. The remains of this little Angel were taken to the Medical Examiner's office.

When the landlord learned that the remains belong to a three year old little boy named Roman Barreras,  he broke down and cried and he had a message for the siblings of this child:

"God loves them and there's still good people in this life. It doesn't matter where you come from,
it's what you become in the future"

Right after he was born, Roman had been taken from his mother because she tested positive for drugs, the other children in the home had been removed and placed with family members. Before this child was discovered to have died, CPS was called to the home of this family because the children were not attending the school they had been registered to attend, in the Spring of 2013, only of the three children had been to school. CPS was called out:

"We can confirm that there was prior CPS involvement and that the last involvement we know
of at this point was in August of 2012. However, it will take at least another day of research in
our unwieldy CHILDS system, to ascertain all of the facts"
Jennifer Bowser-Richards - CPS Spokeswoman

While the community tried to make sense of what had happened, a six year old boy stated that he had never seen Roman and had not heard anyone in the family talking about him, other neighbors said they never even knew that the little boy existed. The six year old boy did remember the toy chest:

"I had never opened it because there was like ants and bees and when my friend opened it
carefully and just her toys carefully because there were ants and all that"

The boys grandmother had this to say:

"It seems to me that when they moved in, he wasn't alive. I don't know, because we never saw him"

When Police finally found them, Roman's mother, Raquel Barreras, who was 39 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with first degree murder. Roman's father, Martin Barrearas, who was 45 years old at the time, was charged with child abuse. In the home were four daughters between the ages of 4 and 19 years old and one son who was 12 years old. CPS took the children and placed them in to protective custody. Pictures of the couple after their arrest, show two adults who look to be smiling smugly and not caring at all that they are responsible for the terrible death of a child, their own child!

Roman's siblings told police that their mother had not been feeding him and that she had starved him to death. The complaint against the couple stated that Martin knew that Raquel was abusing Roman and though he did talk to her about the abuse, he did nothing to protect Roman from her, he said that she was the one who abused and starved this little Angel.

In March of 2014, a memorial had started to form outside of the home and a group called Homicide Survivors joined Roman's family to remember him:

"They're very appreciative of how the community is reaching out, sharing in their loss in their
grief and their horror and supporting them. It's incomprehensible that another solution couldn't
have been found for problems, for difficulties, and there are loving, caring people who would have
opened their arms to this baby and they're bereft. Their hearts have been torn apart"
Carol Gaziola - Homicide Survivors Director

"It's kind of sad that people are leaving food and drinks, because he starved to death.
I just hope everything, that we don't hear stories like this again in Tucson because it's
horrible I just hope everything works out for the kids that did live"
Star Luna

In a news conference, Roman's Grandmother wiped tears away from her eyes as she and other family members tried their best to deal with what had happened:

"Roman was a beautiful baby boy, he had a lot to live for. We're asking you to pray for him while are
trying to get through this, just remember him as a beautiful baby boy"
Erica Ortiz - Raquel's niece.

"The barreras are in shock. To find out that one of their own has been taken from us, especially a child,
the worst nightmare. I don't know what caused this, some of us are asking the question and we want
to know and find out the truth"
Oscar Romero - Cousin

Family members stated that they had called CPS, but Roman's parents had suddenly become very secretive and that they were moving quite often.

This page was created on March 12, 2014
Death occurred in the state of Arizona

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