Dehydration cause of woman’s death; no more charges in Bariames case
December 6, 2002
The death of Debbie Bariames, whom authorities found next to her malnourished infant while her husband listlessly watched TV nearby, was the result of severe dehydration, a pathologist’s report showed.
Severe dehydration is a natural cause, meaning the Douglas County District Attorney Office will not file additional charges against George Bariames, 36, officials said. He faces a maximum of 20 years in state prison if found guilty on child-abuse charges.
A prescription antidepressant drug was found in the woman’s system, but did not contribute to her death, the toxicology report said. Authorities, who found her body Sept. 21, said she may have been dead for about a week.
The drug could have been in Debbie Bariames’ system for up to a week, said Steve Finnell, a deputy coroner with Washoe County Coroner’s Office.
“This person stopped drinking for some reason,” Finnell said. “We did the examination, and that’s what we came up with: severe dehydration. But (we can’t tell) the manner it arrived.”
Even though Debbie Bariames, 35, was dead several days before being found with bruises, it is not a crime to fail to report a death, said Deputy District Attorney Dina Salvucci.
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George Bariames is being held in Douglas County Jail in Minden on $200,000 bail. If he posts bail, he must be supervised by his parents in Las Vegas, have no contact with his child, and not consume alcohol or use unauthorized prescription drugs.
Salvucci said she has evidence Bariames “used and abused” prescription drugs.
His infant son, Nicholas, is in child protective services’ care in Douglas County. Tina Snider, Debbie Bariames’ best friend, and Debbie’s mother intend to take foster-care classes in Las Vegas, where they both live, in hopes of raising Nicholas. The child is in good health, Snider said.
She was puzzled by the report’s determination.
“If she was so thirsty, why didn’t she get a glass of water or have George get it for her?” Snider asked.
Bariames was buried at a Carson Valley cemetery, Snider said. A memorial service was held for her in Las Vegas on Nov. 26, which would have been her 36th birthday.
A preliminary hearing at Tahoe Township Court for George Bariames is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 7.