WASHINGTON (KYTX) – The U.S. Marshals are asking for the public's help in finding a couple who have been on the run for more than three years after they were charged with manslaughter in New Albany, Miss., in the death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter.
Janet and Ramon Barreto are also wanted for multiple counts of child neglect and endangerment involving the abuse of their other adopted children.
The Barretos left their severely injured daughter at a northern Mississippi hospital May 18, 2008, telling the medical staff she had fallen from a shopping cart. Ena Barreto was immediately transported to a children's hospital in nearby Memphis, Tenn., where she later died.
Janet and Ramon Barreto were arrested May 19, 2008, and an investigation revealed the couple had adopted seven additional children all under the age of 5 from Central American countries. At the time of the arrest, one 3-year-old child weighed only 20 pounds. Investigators also discovered the Barretos were running a puppy mill and found hundreds of sick and injured animals crammed into cages filled with feces.
A judge set bond for each of the Barretos at $450,000, but they fled. The U.S. Marshals Service adopted the case and tracked the fugitives to Mexico where their trail went cold in a town where Ramon's family members live.
The couple has been profiled on "America's Most Wanted" as recently as April 2012, and there have been confirmed sightings of the fugitive couple between fall 2010 and summer 2012 in the following areas of California: Huntington Park, Maywood, Bell, Bakersfield, Palmdale and Taft.
The Barretos have sold and may still be selling small dogs such as Yorkies, Maltese and Poodles to people on the street and through ads posted on Internet sites, investigators reveal. Janet Barreto would allegedly meet the buyers in area parking lots and quickly leave with their cash. The Barretos also allegedly sold DVDs and CDs from their 1990s white Dodge Caravan in area parking lots, and Ramon was often seen panhandling while Janet sold DVDs or lounged on a nearby blanket.
The couple moved from their Huntington Park rental in June 2012 after their new puppy mill became a neighborhood nuisance, investigators say. They told associates that they were moving to Texas, but investigators say they believe the couple could be anywhere. Both have ties to California, Texas, Florida, Mississippi and Mexico.
Janet Barreto is described as a white female, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing more than 300 pounds. Ramon Barreto is described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing approximately 137 pounds.
Janet speaks English and Spanish, while Ramon speaks only Spanish. Janet has used several aliases including Victoria and Vicky, while Ramon has used Ramiro, Juan and Christian. Janet is a diabetic who needs insulin and is known to visit area clinics for insulin. She reportedly wears only black clothing and has naturally thin black hair, but is known to wear blonde and red wigs. The attached photo of Janet wearing a blonde wig was taken within the past year, but associates have said her attached mug shots resemble her current appearance more correctly than the blonde wig photo.
Investigators learned from various sources that Janet often spoke of having children in Texas living with a sister, but have confirmed this is not true. She spoke often of her desperation to have a child in her custody. Janet is known to berate Ramon, who is usually in the background and speaks to no one in public. Janet tells people privately that Ramon abuses her but feels a child would make them closer.
If you have seen Janet and/or Ramon Barreto or know where they are please contact the U.S. Marshals Service:
U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102 or
Deputy U.S. Marshal Gale Manning at 662-816-3013 (English speakers) or
Deputy U.S. Marshal David Dominguez at 213-798-6446 (Spanish speakers) or
Any information provided will be considered confidential, and there is a cash award of up to $2,500 per fugitive available for information leading to their arrest.