Tuscon, AZ. (AP)- The skeletal remains of the 3-year-old toddler were found in a backyard chest.
Police charged the boy's parents with murder and child abuse.
Raquel Barreras, 39 and Martin Barreras, 45, the toddler's parents, were arrested and booked at the Pima County jail after the child's remains were found in the toy chest.
Siblings of the toddler whose skeletal remains were found in the chest for toys said their mother starved the boy to death. The couple has four other children: a 19-year-old teenager, and three minor children ages 12, 7, and 4-years-of-age.
In a separate complaint filed a day after the Tucson boy's mortal remains were found, news sources later learned that Roman was made to live in a room, in isolation, behind the family home. Investigators also learned the father knew about his wife's patterns of abuse with the hapless child, but he failed to stop it or notify authorities.
The Barreras family moved into the Arizona property in April of last year, but was evicted in at the beginning of 2014. The property manager/landlord was cleaning out the property when they found the toddler's body. His remains were tucked inside a blue chest, apparently left behind when the family was forced to leave.
For a young child, one of the most innocents in our community, how anyone can do that to someone is very difficult for anyone to understand," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto VillaseĂ±or on Wednesday.
In the family's short stay at the home, police have been by a number of times, but only on alleged truancy complaints in the children not attending school regularly. However, on each occasion, officers did not notice any outward signs of child abuse or anything else that raised red flags of a crime.
After news spread that the remains of the toddler were found in the backyard, neighbors came forward and offered their take on the family, who they described as private and reclusive. One strange thing brought up about the transient family's behavior was they allowed their kids to play outside at 3:00 a.m. before the father went off to his job as a laborer.
Although the family didnâ€™t have any reported social ties with the local community, the news of a child's death is always shocking. And the manner in which the toddler allegedly died is even more sobering for locals and loved ones. An autopsy on the remains found will hopefully shed more light on how and when he passed away.