An Arizona couple was arrested Tuesday after a landlord cleaning out their former home found the skeleton of a toddler inside a toy chest.
Raquel Barreras, 39, was charged with the murder of her son, Roman. Her husband Martin Barreras, 45, was charged with child abuse.
Tuscon police said the couple and their other four children were thrown out of their triplex earlier this year.
While the landlord was clearing out the ramshackle building he found a skeleton in a plastic blue toy chest located in “an attached structure” outside of the home, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor said in a press conference Wednesday.
Villasenor said investigators believe the 3-year-old Roman was forced to live in the structure outside of the home.
"How anyone could do that to someone is very difficult to understand," Villasenor said. "We want to make sure we're very thorough in investigating this type of case."
Police visited the home in the past when the Barreras’ other children were missing school. However they reported “there were never indications of any physical abuse.”
"But since the reports involved the school age children, there was nothing that came through about Roman," Villasenor said.
"They never went out in the day, you never saw the adults," neighbor Miguel Rabago told local News 13. “They moved in at three in the morning. Everything they did they did at night or two or three in the morning. It was really kind of weird."
The couple’s two young daughters, 7 and 4, and a son, 12, were placed into the custody of child welfare agents. The oldest child, a 19-year-old daughter, was not.
Medical examines have not yet released a cause of death.