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Who Is Raquel Barraras? New Details On Arizona Mom Accused Of Starving Son To Death

Photo: Tuscon Police Department 
Who Is Raquel Barraras? New Details On Arizona Mom Accused Of Starving Son To Death

An Arizona woman accused of starving her toddler to death in 2014 has been found guilty of murder. Raquel Barreras was convinced in the murder of her three-year-old son Roman on May 3. She will be sentenced in July. Prosecutors alleged that Barreras had deliberately isolated her son Roman, forcing him to live in a room on the back of the house, locking him in a toy box and depriving him of food. His remains were found by the family’s landlord when he cleaned out the house after evicting them in 2014. It is unclear when Roman died. His remains were nothing more than a skeleton when they were discovered and the medical examiner was only able to say that the boy died sometime between the spring of 2014 and winter of 2014. Barrreras faces a potential life sentence without parole. Her husband will also be charged with first degree murder and his trial is set to begin in August.

Who is Raquel Barreras? Read on for all the details.

1. The family

Raquel and Martin Barerras were living in a rental home in Tuscon with their five children in 2013. The children ranged in age from 19 to three years old. According to neighbors, the family was very isolated and the did not go to school. A neighbor told Tuscon.com at the time “I did not know them well. They stayed to themselves and isolated the children. The kids did not go to school and played mostly in their yard behind a locked wrought-iron fence.”  Another neighbor commented that Martin Barreras worked long hours and the family kept a strange schedule, saying "The family would sit outdoors sometimes at 3 a.m. and allow the children to play. This was very strange.”

The trial was held last week.

2. CPS

The Arizona Department of Division of Child Safety and Family Services had been in contact with the family. Radar Online reports now that the children were removed from their parents' custody at one point in 2010 for their exposure to drugs, but they were returned to Martin Barreras a year later. In 2014, the DCSFS confirmed that they had been in contact with the family as recently as 2012 but not later than that.

Social media repspnse has been heated.

3. Extreme neglect

The other children in the family told authorities at the time Roman’s body was discovered that their mother deliberately isolated Roman from the rest of the family and withheld food from him. The child was evidently forced to live in a laundry room behind the main house and his mother may have locked him in a plastic toy chest. Authorities said Martin Barreras knew what his wife was doing to their son: “but did nothing further to stop her from starving (the) child.” Roman died and his body was locked in the plastic toy box but it is unclear when he died. It could have happened any time from Spring 2013 to January 2014, according to testimony at trial.

Closing arguments were on Thursday.

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4. Grisly discovery

When the family was evicted from the home, they left their toddler’s remains behind. Their landlord Mark Weisbrod came to clean out the residence and found bones in the toy box. He testified during the trial that he initially believed he’d discovered a Halloween decoration, according to People. He reported the remains to police who arrested both Raquel and Martin on suspicion of murder.

Barreras is a drug addict.

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5. Testimony

At the trial, prosecutors made it clear that there was sustained and prolonged abuse before Roman passed away. “It took Roman a long time to die,” Deputy Pima County Attorney Virginia Aspacher told jurors during the opening statements, according to Tucson.com. “It took him a long time to starve to death.” Meanwhile, the public defender assigned to Barreras tried to deflect the blame and place it elsewhere. She told juries to blame Martin for his indifference to the situation and to hold the state at fault to failing to permanently remove the children, saying that Raquel was “overwhelmed by addiction, poverty and depression.” She went on to suggest that “She was not a good mother but she did not want her son to die.”

Barreras's lawyer blamed CPS for not taking the children sooner.

The jury found Barreras guilty and she now faces life in prison at her sentencing hearing in July. Her husband Martin is scheduled to go to trial in August.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.