Police investigate death of girl, 7,found underweight, bruised

Relates to:
Date: 2007-03-17

Vanessa Delgado

Police are investigating the death of a 7-year-old girl from Evans who died late last week and was found underweight with multiple bruises on her body.

Genevieve Barea told police that her niece, LoReyna Barea, was feeling ill March 8, said George Roosevelt, spokesman for the Evans Police Department. Barea called police about 2:30 a.m. March 9 and officers found the 35-pound LoReyna dead when they arrived.

After seeing LoReyna's bruised body, Roosevelt said police took her four brothers into protective custody with Weld County Social Services as a precaution. No charges have been suggested to the Weld District Attorney's office against Barea or her boyfriend, Dan Partch. Barea had been caring for LoReyna's two older brothers since 2003 and LoReyna and her other two brothers since 2005.

"We are investigating how the bruising got there and the cause of death," Roosevelt said.

Barea had custody of the five children to help out their mother and her sister, Margaret Barea, said Linda Not-Help-Him, Barea's other sister, who lives in Pine Ridge, S.D., and who was in town this week. Margaret Barea was fighting alcoholism, Not-Help-Him said. Margaret Barea also was accused of child molestation while the family lived in Rapid City, S.D., but she was later cleared of the charges, according to the State Attorney Office in Pennington County, S.D.

A Tribune reporter visited Genevieve Barea's house on the 3400 block of Marigold Street in Evans twice on Friday, but she was not available for comment.

Roosevelt said the department is waiting for autopsy results before officers begin naming suspects. Chris Robillard, with the Weld County Coroner's Office, said he is not sure when the office will determine the cause of death. He said another doctor from Children's Hospital in Denver is going to review the findings from the autopsy and determine if child abuse is an issues in this case.

Roosevelt said officers are interviewing the siblings, neighbors, officers, Partch and Barea.

At 35 pounds, LoReyna who was normal height for her age, was below the 50th percentile for her weight.

During a hearing in Weld County that began Tuesday and continued Wednesday, a Weld District Court judge decided to keep the four boys with a foster family until a cause of death could be determined, Roosevelt said.

"They had pictures of the extensive abuse to her body," Not-Help-Him said speaking of the pictures shown to the judge during the hearing, adding that her niece was malnourished.

Not-Help-Him said she and her husband have filed with the Oglala Nation Tribal Resource Advocacy Coalition at their hometown in Pine Ridge, to take custody of the boys.

"It's still shocking for me to think she (Genevieve Barea) is capable of this behavior," Not-Help-Him said. "You want to try and have good feelings about your family."

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