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America's Most Wanted/Child Abuse/Death: $5,000 Reward for Ramone Barreto & Janet Barreto

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, child, children, crime, death, news, sadness, violence )

- 3095 days ago -
There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the Baretto's whereabouts. Call the Union County Sheriff's Office at 662-534-1941 or the US Marshals at 1-877-WANTED2.

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Saturday December 5, 2009, 10:15 am
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Little Enna Barreto and the Baby Trailer

On May 17, 2008, Janet and Ramon Barreto brought their two year-old adopted daughter Enna to the hospital. They said she fell out of a shopping cart, but doctors soon discovered this wasn't the truth. The little girl had severe head and body trauma that was more consistent with a car wreck than injuries sustained from a fall. When Enna was medevaced to a children's hospital in Memphis, doctors called the Union County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Human Services.

Poor little Enna died the next day, and when police went to arrest the Barretos, they'd already left the hospital. Cops say the couple did make contact with police, but remained evasive about their whereabouts. A warrant was issued for their home.

When cops arrived to the fenced-in property, they immediately heard a cacophony of barking sounds. Behind the Barreto's house was a large puppy mill with 187 dogs, over 50 cats, and some ducks. The animals were filthy, some so matted with fur and feces that they couldn't even move. There was a breeding trailer where sickly mother dogs were forced to give birth to litters of puppies on top of mounds of their own feces. Police said the smell was almost unbearable.

The house itself was a doublewide trailer painted a cheery white. Inside was a different story. When police entered the residence, cockroaches scattered and fell from the ceiling. Rotten food, feces, and diabetic Janet's insulin needles littered the floor. The smell was so overpowering, the officers had to leave to get face masks.

Janet and Ramon Barreto, Janet's seventeen year-old daughter Marainna Torres, and the couple's biological daughter baby Janet, 6, lived in the main trailer. There was a room down the hall that had a wire tied around the doorknob from the outside, locking it. The room was empty.

Then cops made a terrible discovery. In a small breezeway further down the hall was another door locked from the outside. When they cut the lock, they discovered that a single-wide trailer was attached. In the small room were seven cribs, three on one side, four on the other. Some cribs had plywood bottoms, others had spring-exposed mattresses. Dirty diapers, rotting food, and human filth covered the floor and crib bottoms. Tiny brown handprints were imprinted on the crib bars.

The most horrifying thing? The cribs were empty.
As soon as the children realized the police and DHS workers weren't going to hurt them, they clung to officers' legs, starved for affection.

Broken Children, Broken Dreams

Enna Barreto died in the hospital from blunt force trauma.

Luckily, a relative called the Department of Human Services and reported that they had the Barreto children. Police learned the Barretos had adopted eight children from Guatemala, including little Enna. There was Byron, 8; Edwin, Juan, and Celeste, 3; and Lucrecia and Luisa, 2. At first, police say the kids stared blankly ahead as if not really seeing anything. They couldn't talk, just whimper. As soon as the children realized the police and DHS workers weren't going to hurt them, they clung to officers' legs, starved for affection. Seeing that the children were extremely malnourished, police and DHS took them to get food.

At first, cops say the kids crammed food into their mouths and refused to swallow in an attempt to store the food for later. Eventually, the little ones ate a couple helpings.

The Barretos were arrested by U.S. Marshals and booked into the Union County Jail. Police thought the case was wrapped up until Janet's daughter Marainna came forward and said she had killed baby Enna. After her confession, the Barretos paid their $900,000 bond and left Janet's daughter to rot in jail. Marainna pled guilty to manslaughter.

Shortly afterwards, Marainna talked to police once more. This time, she told them something they had suspected. She said the Barretos tortured the children by tying their hands and feet to the cribs, dunking them in barrels of water until they lost consciousness, and that Ramon put hot peppers into the kids' mouths to make them stop crying. Doctor examinations of the children corroborated her testimony when they found ligature marks through X-rays and open sores in the kids' mouths from the peppers.

Marainna went on to describe her own childhood in the Barreto household. She said her mother and stepfather had beaten her since she was young, and forced her to drop out of school when she was 16 in order to watch the children full-time while her mother sold her puppy mill animals on the Internet. Marainna said that school had been an escape for her, and that her dreams of one day becoming a social worker to help other kids in her situation were broken when her mother forced her to quit.

From then on, Marainna said her mother made her take care of the children, but wouldn't let her give them blankets or toys. When Janet told her to "take care of that baby," she said it meant to silence the child by any means necessary. If she didn't follow orders, Marainna said she would get beaten.

The strain of this lifestyle finally caught up with her, and Marainna said she got to the breaking point the day Enna was taken to the hospital. The Barretos had been shopping in Memphis that day, and when they returned home, Enna was fussy. Janet told her to make Enna stop crying, and Marainna finally snapped. She said she threw Enna into her plywood crib and hadn't realized how badly the little girl had been injured. Marainna said she tried to revive Enna, and took her to her mother. Marainna told police the Barretos wanted to dispose of baby Enna in the septic tank, but that she insisted they take her to the hospital. Unfortunately, they were too late.

When Janet heard her daughter was singing like a bird to police, she called Marainna in jail and threatened her to change her story and take back everything she said about the Barretos. Marainna told police about the call, and Janet was charged with witness intimidation.

When the Barretos didn't show up for their trial, police learned they skipped town and issued a warrant for their arrest.
Happier Days

While Marainna waits in jail for her parents to be caught so she can be sentenced, the other Barreto children and puppy mill animals have happier tales.

The Tupelo-Lee Humane Society and dozens of volunteer workers spent days cleaning up the puppy mill animals. The cats were all found to be feline HIV positive, but have been adopted by homes that will give them special care. Each and every dog in the Barreto compound, including the mothers, have found happy homes. The Barretos were not charged with any animal cruelty charges because they willingly surrendered the animals to the Humane Society for rescue after the puppy mill was discovered.

The Barreto children have exhibited a miraculous resilience and capacity to love. Byron, Juan, Celeste, Luisa, Lucrecia, and baby Janet have all been adopted by loving families in Mississippi. Now they laugh and play like children should.

The bond between Chief Deputy Jimmy Edwards and little Edwin grew, and Jimmy and his wife began taking him for weekend visits. It wasn't long before they decided to make Edwin an official part of the family and adopted him. Edwin loves playing with toy police cars, riding in the cruiser with his dad, and telling everyone that he knows exactly what he wants to be when he grows up.

As for Janet and Ramon Barreto, cops need your help finding them. Ramon has family in Mexico, and the two might be hiding south of the border. Janet has diabetes and needs insulin, so she will most likely visit medical clinics. She also is suffering from gout. Police fear that the Barretos will start adopting and hurting children again, and are anxious to get them back behind bars.
Wanted For:

* Manslaughter (Culpable Negligence) , New Albany , MS ; May 17, 2008
* Felony Child Abuse (Multiple Counts) , New Albany , MS ; May 17, 2008
* Child Endangerment (Multiple Counts) , New Albany , MS ; May 17, 2008

(Information valid as of December 5, 2009)
Associated Persons:

Ramon Barreto
Ramon Barreto
»More information

Television Airings:

* »December 5, 2009

Janet Barreto

Ramone Barreto

* Video
* Photo

MS Fugitive Couple Recently Spotted

Updated: Thursday, 24 Sep 2009, 9:25 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 24 Sep 2009, 9:24 PM CDT



New Albany, Miss. - U.S. Marshals are on the hunt for a fugitive couple from Mississippi. They're wanted on manslaughter and child endangerment charges, among others and they left their 17-year old daughter, in jail, to face the music.

Ramone and Janet Barreto are charged with, among other things, manslaughter for the death of their 2-year old is their 17-year old daughter. The 17-year old plead guilty and is now in jail, but the Barreto's made bond and have been on the run for about a year and a half.

Union County Chief Deputy Jimmy Edwards says, "We have been notified they were seen in New Albany August 14th at a car dealership maybe trying to trade in cars."

Not only are the Barretos charged with manslaughter, they're also accused of forcing their other 7 adopted Guatemalan children to live in a trailer home which investigators say was filled with needles and cockroaches.

Deputies also allegedly found a puppy mill in their backyard...something Janet Barreto's brother was also recently charged with.

Edwards says, "While we were there to check with him on if he'd seen her or knew her whereabouts we discovered the puppy mill there."

They were spotted in Memphis, three months ago, driving a 2004 brown dodge caravan.

Marshals say the couple hasn't touched their bank account. And even though Janet has diabetes, investigators still think she's getting her medication.
Deputy Marshal Dennis Spencer says, "There are free clinics out there we think she might be going to and we're assuming she has a false ID at this point."

While there's a possibility the fugitive couple could be in Ramone's birth country of Mexico, investigators believe the two are still hiding out in the Mid-South.

Spencer says, "This was a case we thought we'd solve quick. This is a large woman who's taking medication daily not your normal fugitive we chase it's difficult but we are confident we will catch them."

Edwards says, "It's very important to us...the abuse of these children, alleged abuse is very serious to us."

There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the Baretto's whereabouts.
Call the Union County Sheriff's Office at 662-534-1941 or the US Marshals at 1-877-WANTED2.
All the children, the Barreto's adopted from Guatemala, have since been adopted by other families.

* Video
* Photo

Miss. Couple Featured on America's Most Wanted

Updated: Friday, 04 Dec 2009, 9:17 PM CST
Published : Friday, 04 Dec 2009, 9:15 PM CST



NEW ALBANY, Miss. - John Walsh and his popular crime fighting show, "America's Most Wanted," is joining the hunt for a Union County, Mississippi couple who have eluded law enforcement for almost 2 years now. The couple, Janet and Ramon Barreto, are wanted in connection with the death of their 2 year old daughter, and for allegedly keeping seven other adopted children in cages inside a filthy trailer. Despite the gruesome details, the story does have a positive ending.

The Barretos bonded out of jail in 2008 and haven't been seen since. The two are charged with manslaughter for the death of their 2 year old daughter, Enna. They're also charged with felony child abuse and endangerment after what police allegedly found in their New Albany home. Union County Chief Deputy, Jimmy Edwards says, "There's no way to explain it, unbearable, couldn't bear staying in there."

Police say the Barretos forced their 8 adopted Guatemalan children to live in their trailer home which investigators say was filled with needles and cockroaches. A puppy mill was allegedly found in the back yard. The Barreto's daughter told police they abused her and the other children.

Tony Zanelotti, a director and producer for America's Most Wanted, says court transcripts reveal what the Barretos allegedly did to their children. He says, "Hot peppers stuffed down their mouths, dunked in water, duct taped to cribs. It's inexcusable and darkest of anyone's thoughts you could ever inflict on a child."

The popular TV show is featuring the Barreto's story Saturday night. Zanelotti says it took 4 months to produce. He says it's one of the longest segments they've aired and the most emotional, “This is not the story of the crime, story of salvation, story about recovery, multiple families from Mississippi adopting these Guatemalan children who were allegedly abused by their parents and tortured."

In fact, one of the children was adopted by lead detective and Union County Chief Deputy, Jimmy Edwards. Edwards says, "He's doing good, growing, gaining weight and growing and becoming a normal, typical 5 year old child."

In its 22nd season, America's Most Wanted has helped capture 1095 dangerous criminals. Producers hope viewers will help them catch 2 more Saturday night.

Zanelotti says, "I think when they see the horrific circumstances surrounding this case, they will be so moved to come forward they're going to help crack this case."

The Barretos have been spotted in Memphis and throughout the Mid-South but investigators say they could be in Mexico. Their car was recently found near the border.
Janet is diabetic and needs Insulin. They believe she's still visiting medical clinics. You can catch "America's Most Wanted" Saturday, right here on Fox 13 at 8pm.

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