exposing the dark side of adoption
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Frail girl, 7, lost love of life before death, aunt says


Felix Doligosa Jr.

Rocky Mountain News

LoReyna Barea was always full of energy when she primped her hair in front of the mirror and showed off her big dimples.

But in the past few years, as the 7-year-old girl's mother and aunt battled in court for custody of LoReyna and her four brothers, the little girl stopped showing that same love of life, said an aunt.

"LoReyna was always a small girl, but only recently has she started looking sad and lonely," said Elizabeth Barea, an aunt of the children.

LoReyna's other aunt, Genevieve Barea, of Evans, gained custody of the children after their mother died in a car accident in January.

When police responded to a call for help on March 9, LoReyna was dead, her body bruised and weighing only 35 pounds.

An autopsy and toxicology tests were inconclusive, Weld County Deputy Coroner Chris Robillard said. He said organ samples might offer clues into whether she died from illness or malnutrition.

"She was fairly underweight, but we don't know what she looked like prior to her death," he said.

The four brothers appeared in good health and were taken into protective custody.

Genevieve Barea took two of the boys from their mother, Margaret Barea, in 2003 and the rest of the siblings in 2005.

LoReyna's mother, Margaret Barea, 35, led a tough life and worked odd jobs as a house cleaner, said Elizabeth Barea. "She was a good mother," she said.

"Genevieve accused her of being a gang member and sexually assaulting her children.

"She wanted to get my sister's kids. Genevieve didn't have her own children."

Genevieve Barea could not be contacted Wednesday. Messages left at her husband's work were not returned.

doligosaf@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2970

2007 Mar 22