TUCSON, Az. – The mother of a 3-year-old Tucson boy convicted of his murder when the jury returned a verdict on Friday, officials said.
Authorities said that Roman Barreras, the youngest child of Raquel and Martin Barreras, was believed to have died in 2013 or 2014. The family consisted of the two parents, Roman and three older siblings. When Roman was born in 2010, him and his siblings were removed from the home by the Department of Children Services (DCS).
DCS provided a reunification plan for the parents to follow, but only Martin Barreras did. Raquel did not follow the plan, so on the condition that the child would only be with Martin, the children were returned to Martin approximately a year later. At some point, Raquel returned to the family rental home in the 700 block of West Idaho Street, according to court records.
Two to three years later, Roman was deceased and shortly after, the family was evicted from their rental for non-payment. The body of Roman was found inside a toy box at the rental in 2014, authorities said. Both parents were charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, and for concealing a body. Court testimony indicates that Roman was denied basic necessities, including food which led to his death. In addition, the child was not provided with human interaction.
The public defender argued that drugs and poverty led to the killing of Roman. She also stated that the boy was never healthy, but further details were unclear. She also blamed the Department of Public Safety for now following up on the children once they returned home from DFS custody.
Raquel Barreras was found guilty of murder and child abuse on Friday. She will return to court to be sentenced on July 22, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. Martin Barreras’ charges were reduced to a single count of child abuse, which will go to trial in August 2019.
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