DENVER – A Denver police dispatcher has been placed on paid leave as an investigation continues into police response to a domestic violence incident that ended in a woman’s death.
Christopher Alex Perea, 41, is accused of killing his wife Loretta Barela, 44, at their home on South Carlan Court Sunday.
Police found Barela’s body inside her home around 8:15 a.m. FOX31 Denver has learned that five hours earlier officers were called to the house on a domestic violence call.
A neighbor has said they called 911 around 2 a.m. because Barela was screaming for help and banging on the neighbor’s door. Perea allegedly grabbed her and dragged her back into the house.
The neighbor said officers arrived around 3 a.m. and peered in the home but left without talking to anyone.
It was Perea himself who ended up calling police at 8:15 a.m. because he thought he had killed his wife.
According to a probable cause statement, Barela told dispatchers “that the body is cold and her jaw is stiff." He told responding officers that he didn’t want to discuss what happened.
According to the statement, Perea had a swollen knuckle and cuts on both hands as well as two small drops of blood on his shirt. He also had red marks on each side of his neck and deeper cuts with blood on the top of his foot, the statement said.
Police have not identified the officers who were first called to Barela’s home. Chief Robert White has ordered an internal investigation, which could take weeks to complete.
Calls to 911 are received by a call-taker and then information is passed along to a dispatcher who then communicates with individual officers. Part of Denver 911's internal investigation will be to look at the line of communication and determine if critical pieces were not passed along.