Young couple have area’s first baby of year |

Young couple have area’s first baby of year

Karl Horeis
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Caleah Barnwell holds her daughter Anica Castaneda while her family Lupe, Steve, and Sierra look on. The father Jose Castaneda is pictured sitting.

The first baby born in 2004 at Carson-Tahoe Hospital may have green eyes. Anica Fall Castaneda was born at 6:13 p.m. New Year’s Day weighing 6 pounds, 11-ounces.

“She hasn’t really opened her eyes yet, but they look green,” said her father, Jose Castaneda. Her mother, Caleah Barnwell, pulled a tiny pink hat over the baby’s full head of dark hair.

“Probably for the next week or so we won’t know exactly what color her eyes are going to be,” said the baby’s grandmother, Lupe Barnwell.

The first-time parents, both 17, cradled their daughter in Room 207 of the obstetrics unit. Bright sunshine reflecting off snowy peaks streamed through the window.

The two, both from Dayton, are engaged to be married.

“We met in sixth grade,” said the new mother, wearing a pink fleece robe with colorful butterflies. “We had the same class at Dayton Intermediate School – Mrs. Kennedy’s.”

“We’ve actually been together since the 8th grade,” said her fiance, glancing up at a music video for OutKast’s “Hey Ya,” which was playing on television.

Nineteen-inch-long Anica was mostly quiet, but when she cried her lower lip trembled. She wore tiny tan-colored mittens.

“They’re so she don’t scratch her face,” Dad explained.

The new parents are both Dayton High School students. They plan to take classes at Western Nevada Community College after graduation.

A nursery is set up for the infant in Caleah’s room at her parents’ house.

“Caleah’s our oldest daughter,” said Steven Barnwell, a new grandfather.

The baby’s aunt, 14-year-old Sierra Barnwell, was also there.

“We gave the baby Sierra’s middle name: Fall,” said Caleah.

The young parents don’t plan to stay in Dayton forever.

“We want to leave the state after we get all our school done,” said Dad.

“I really want to go to New Mexico,” said mom. “I have a lot of family there.”

Her labor lasted about 31 hours, having started the afternoon of New Year’s Eve.

“We were actually trying to have the last baby of 2003, not the first baby of 2004,” said Lupe Barnwell.

The new parents planned to take their daughter home to Dayton on Friday evening.

Contact Karl Horeis at or call 881-1219.