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Mar 6, 2014 4:26 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Landlord talks about finding 3-year-old's remains in toy trunk

TUCSON - The owners of the property where the remains of a child were found Tuesday say while picking up after their evicted tenants, they almost threw the toy chest away.

They say the Barreras family lived in the triplex unit, less than a year. They also say they had no idea seven people were living in the two bedroom unit. They were under the impression two adults and two kids were living there.

After not paying rent and countless warnings, they were legally evicted at the end of January.

On Tuesday, while cleaning the property they found a dirty mess inside and out. When they got to the attached laundry room, they found a 3x3 plastic toy trunk outside on the back patio with blankets on top, wet from the rain.

"There was a lot of trash around it, blankets, and boxes of clothes that were wet," describes the landlord, "we were putting all this stuff in trash bags so we could take it to the dumpster."

The owner says they almost didn't open the trunk assuming it was trash, filled with more soggy blankets. That's when another helper, tugged at a blanket finding skeletal remains. The landlord knew it was a child.

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

Learning the remains are believed to be a 3-year-old named Roman brought the landlord to tears.

The landlord has a message to Roman's three older sisters and brother. "God loves them, and there's still good people in this life," says the landlord, "It doesn't matter where you come from, it's what you become in the future."

Tucson's Police Chief said Roman was often kept inside the attached laundry room outside. The homeowner describes it as an 8x10 brick room.

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