Police arrest caregivers in 7-year-old's death in March

Relates to:
Date: 2007-05-24

Vanessa Delgado

When 7-year-old LoReyna Barea died in March, family members were devastated.

She was remembered as being full of life and very affectionate. On Wednesday, their feelings of grief were only escalated when they discovered that her death was the result of child abuse.

And, the people suspected of causing her death were her aunt Genevieve Barea, 45, and Barea's boyfriend, Dan Partch, 47, both of Evans.

Barea had custody of LoReyna and her four brothers.

About 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Evans police arrested Barea and Partch. Both are being held in Weld County Jail on $500,000 bonds.

Barea called police March 9 and told them that LoReyna was feeling ill about 2:30 a.m. that morning. When officers arrived, they found the 35-pound LoReyna dead with multiple bruises on her body, Evans detective George Roosevelt said in an earlier interview.

"When I stop and think about it, I feel very bad for what she had to go through," said Elizabeth Cervantes, about her niece LoReyna, at her Greeley home on Wednesday. "Everything has been so hectic."

Cervantes, along with some of the other family members, suspected Barea when they learned about LoReyna's death. Cervantes said she has six sisters and five brothers, many of whom live in Greeley and Evans. Since the death of their niece, the family has been split between those who think Barea did it and those who don't.

Investigators in March refused to release information until they got results of the LoReyna's autopsy, which was completed May 11, according to Chris Robillard, an investigator with the Weld County Coroner's Office, before they could move forward.

Barea had been caring for LoReyna's two older brothers since 2003, and LoReyna and her other two brothers since 2005, to help out their mother and her sister, Margaret Barea. Margaret Barea was fighting alcoholism and also was accused of child molestation while the family lived in Rapid City, S.D. She later was cleared of the charges, according to the South Dakota State Attorney's Office in Pennington County.

Margaret Barea, who was involved in a traffic crash with her boyfriend in December, died in February as result of injuries from that crash.

After seeing LoReyna's bruised body, Roosevelt said police took her four brothers into protective custody with Weld County Social Services as a precaution. They have remained in protective custody since the incident. Cervantes said family members have not been able to contact any of the children.

Linda Not-Help-Him, Barea's other sister, who lives in Pine Ridge, S.D., said she and her husband filed with the Oglala Nation Tribal Resource Advocacy Coalition in Pine Ridge, S.D., to take custody of the boys, but were denied.

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