Tucson couple accused of starving child to death finally gets trial date

Tucson couple accused of starving child to death finally gets trial date
Roman Barreras (Source: Barreras family)
Roman Barreras (Source: Barreras family)
Police say the remains were found in a plastic toy chest similar to the one seen in this photo of the backyard. (Source: Tucson Police Department)
Police say the remains were found in a plastic toy chest similar to the one seen in this photo of the backyard. (Source: Tucson Police Department)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The skeleton of 3-year-old Roman Barreras was found abandoned in a plastic toy box at his family's former home in 2014.

Now three years later, his parents finally received a date to stand trial in connection with his death.

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The trial for Martin and Raquel Barreras is set to start April 24, 2018. A hearing for pretrial motion, including a request to sever the charges, is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Raquel has been charged with murder while she and Martin are both facing felony child abuse charges.

According to TPD, the home had been vacant for some time but they quickly located and arrested Roman's parents.

Investigators claim Raquel starved Roman to death and Martin knew about it but did nothing to stop it.

According to the autopsy report, Roman also had several injuries that happened before he died, which may have been a contributing factor to his death.

Several bumps were found on his skull, according to the report, and an "unusual small round depression."

The medical examiner also said his bones showed signs of slow growth, which is consistent with someone who is starved and deprived of nutrients.

A Tucson News Now investigation revealed Child Protective Services, now the Department of Child Safety, had contact with the Barreras family leading up to Ramon's death.

A report shows four different communications about the family, one just months before his remains were found.

On Jan. 10, 2014, someone called a hotline to report Roman had not been seen for several months to a year.

For unknown reasons, the call was inaccurately classified and not investigated.

The first contact came July 14, 2010, when Roman was born.

Raquel admitted she was addicted to pain medicine for 9-10 years and was trying to get help for substance abuse.

Roman was removed from the home but he was eventually returned to his father's care.

On Oct. 15, 2012, CPS got a call about the family from someone who was concerned because the home the Barreras family had been living in had a sign saying it was condemned.

On Nov. 7, 2012, CPS received a report claiming Roman had not been seen for three weeks. There was also concern about the home being condemned because of mold.

Police found Raquel in the home, which was in violation of CPS terms.

Roman was described as small and thin for his age, but the case was closed and no action was taken.

At the time of their arrests, the Barrerases had an adult-age daughter and three other children, all under the age of 12.

Police had been called to the Barreras home previously, looking into reports that the older children had not been in school.

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