Mar 8, 2014 12:51 AM by Nathan O'Neal
TUCSON - A community mourns the horrific murder of a 3-year-old boy on the south side as neighbors recall details of his immediate family.
Raquel Barreras, 39, and Martin Barreras, 45, were Roman Barreras' parents. His mother was charged with murder after allegedly starving him to death while his father is charged with child abuse.
Roman's skeletal remains were found near in a toy box outside of a south side home earlier this week. Roman was one of five children and extended family said Roman was hardly seen - and until now, their next-door neighbors never knew he existed.
News 4 Tucson spoke to one of the kids who played with the Barreras children regularly. His grandmother asked to conceal her and her grandson's identity.
The 6-year-old child said he never saw Roman nor heard of anyone in the family speak of him. He vividly remembers the toy box, where Roman's remains were eventually found.
"I had never opened it because there was like ants and bees and when my friend opened it carefully and just got her toys carefully because there were a lot of ants and all that," he told News 4 Tucson.
His grandmother, who lives steps away from where Roman's skeletal remains were found, is skeptical.
"It seems to me that when they moved in, that he wasn't alive... I don't know because we never saw him," she said.
Days after Roman was discovered, a heart-broken community pays their respects at a make-shift memorial scattered with toys, flowers and food.
"It's kind of sad that the people are leaving food and drinks because he starved to death," said Star Luna, a concerned mother. "I just hope everything... that we don't hear stories like this again in Tucson because it's horrible. I just hope that everything works out for the kids that did live."
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