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Strangers and family visit Roman Barreras' memorial, bring food and toys

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Strangers and family visit Roman Barreras' memorial, bring food and toys

By Simone Del Rosario, Justin Schecker. CREATED Mar 7, 2014 - UPDATED: Mar 10, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The support for 3-year-old Roman Barreras continues to grow in the Tucson community.

Strangers and family members have been regularly visiting the south side yard to shower their blessings where they found his remains.

The memorial started when his relatives gathered Friday night to remember the little boy who lost his life too soon.

Family members held a candlelight vigil for the three-year-old boy found dead in a toy chest. They held back tears as they prayed in front of the yard where the landlord found Roman's remains last Tuesday in the 700 block of S. Idaho Street.
 
But the memorial has grown and on Monday, people had left stuffed animals, balloons, flowers and food. 
 
Food, because Roman's siblings told police their mother starved him to death.
 
Police arrested both of Roman's parents. His mother Raquel Barreras is charged with murder and child abuse and his father Martin Barreras faces a charge of child abuse.
 
The extended family says Roman's parents kept him hidden from the family for more than a year, so his state of well being was not known, but they expect the things at the memorial are things he did not have when he was alive. 
 
"It's something that he could have cherished in his short lifetime," said Liz Molina, a relative of Roman's who stopped by the memorial Monday to give him a teddy bear. "He would have enjoyed it. Maybe he's very proud right now, looking down on us saying you know there is good people out there."
 
The family members also held a press conference on Thursday. 
 
One of Martin's sisters tells 9 On Your Side she tried for the last seven years to help the family as the parents fell on hard times. 
 
On Friday, the extended family, a group of at least 25, added pictures of Roman to the memorial that is growing next the southside triplex where the landlord made the disturbing discovery. 
 
All day long neighbors and complete strangers left flowers and stuffed animals, and on a message board prayers for Roman. 
 
Neighbor Star Luna stopped by with her daughter and nieces. She says her sister went to high school with the 19-year-old Barreras daughter, but she never met the youngest boy.
 
"Why are you guys out here today at this memorial?" 9 On Your Side asked. 
 
"Just to come and show love to the family," Star said. "it is really sad what happened and we have young kids of our own. I just couldn't imagine anything happening like that to a baby."
 
Star's niece had a prayer for Roman's surviving siblings.
 
"I pray to Jesus to make them feel better and he will," she said.
 
The Martinez Funeral home is pitching in to provide the family with items for the little Roman's funeral, such as the casket and the hearse.
 
The Tucson Homicide Survivors non-profit is taking the lead in helping lay Roman to rest. If you'd like to help out the Barreras family, you can find their contact info here.