Crime

Did Denver police delay give Christopher Perea time to kill Loretta Barela? (52)

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The original release from the Denver Police Department notes that officers arrived at an address on the 1500 block of South Carlan at 8:16 a.m. Sunday, November 18. There, they found a dead woman now ID'd as Barela and arrested Perea, who'd racked up a pile of drug and weapons charges over the previous decade. They married in December, a few months after she reportedly bailed him out of jail.

Afterward, however, folks in the area stepped forward to suggest that the cops had been extremely tardy in their response time. 9News cites a neighbor who's said to have first called 911 at 2 a.m. upon seeing Barela (referred to as Loretta Rosa in the station's coverage) at the front door of the residence. She was topless and screaming for help before Perea allegedly dragged her back inside.

That would seem to be more than enough to pique officers' interest. But the neighbor maintains that cops didn't show up -- so she called again at 2:45 a.m. to ask if they were planning to stop by.

According to the station, officers finally turned up at 3 a.m., but their investigation consisted of shining a flashlight and knocking on a door before they left.

So who called 911 at 8:16 a.m.? Perea, who is said to have told operators that Barela's body was "cold" and her jaw was "stiff." The coroner's office has yet to settle on a cause of death; the completion of the autopsy is pending.

Unsurprisingly, Barela's children -- she had five of them -- are bereft at the loss of their mom, and the thought that police might have done something to prevent the slaying no doubt makes the situation even worse.

Responding to the report, Denver Police Chief Robert White has launched an investigation into the claims of slow response time.

"We are working with communications to determine why there was a delay in the dispatching," he told the station. "And once the officers were dispatched, certainly look at the actions they took to make sure they were appropriate. We have to look at, you know, what kind of call? Was the complaint anonymous? How did the call get dispatched? How was the call made to communications? All those things have to be examined."

Look below to see the 9News report, followed by our previous coverage.

Continue to see our previous coverage.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts