Neighbors react to south side child abuse arrest

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Neighbors of the parents arrested on child abuse and murder charges said they're in disbelief that the couple lived just a few steps away from their home.

Tucson Police charged Martin Barreras with one count of first-degree child abuse; His wife, Raquel, was charged with first-degree child abuse and first-degree murder.

They were arrested at their home on West Pennsylvania Street near 7th Avenue in the south side, just a mile-and-a-half north of the home where the remains of their 3-year-old son, Roman, were found in a toy chest.

The landlord of the Pennsylvania Street duplex said the family moved in around mid-January and seemed like any normal family looking for a place to rent.

Other neighbors who live in the unit next to the Barreras' said the family usually kept to themselves.

Nacho Cota, who lives across the street, said he was shocked the couple lived so close to him.

Cota saw officers swarm Pennsylvania Street sometime after 6 p.m. Tuesday, then noticed the Barreras' green pickup truck pull up.

"As soon as he noticed the police officers were in the back apartment knocking on the door trying to get someone to come out, he decided to scoot away, and he pulled out and there was another police officer right here at the corner of Pennsylvania and 7th and he was able to stop him," Cota said.

Neighbors said the Barreras' 19-year-old daughter still lives in the duplex. The Barreras' other four children, who are minors, were taken into custody by Child Protective Services, according to neighbors.

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