Fugitive Couple Last Seen in Memphis
Couple Accused of Murder, Child Abuse
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Investigators say a fugitive couple may be hiding out in Memphis.
Janet and Ramone Barreto are charged with killing a two year old girl, and keeping seven other Guatemalan adoptive children locked in a trailer in terrible conditions.
The couple has been spotted in Memphis after skipping bail earlier this month in New Albany, Mississippi.
The Union County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help.
Two year old Baby Enna died from blunt force trauma. Investigators say she was killed by her adoptive parents, the Barretos.
"They need to be caught and they will be caught," says Ben Creekmore, 3rd Circuit District Attorney.
Investigators say Janet Barreto is very distinctive. She's caucasian, 5 foot 6, 300 pounds and is usually dressed in black from head to toe. Ramone Barreto is hispanic, 5 foot 4, 140 pounds. Investigators say he has family in Memphis and could be hiding out here.
Creekmore indicted the couple on ten charges, after investigators searched the New Albany, Mississippi trailer where the couple lived. There they found seven other Guatemalan adoptive children, in addition to Baby Enna.
"It was very shocking that they were living in the condition that they were," says Chief Deputy Jimmy Edwards of the Union County Sheriff's Office.
Edwards says the couple was living in the large double wide trailer and the eight children, two and three years old, were locked inside the smaller trailer with no way out. He says it was filled with garbage, dog feces and syringes and the children were being kept in metal cribs with ply wood bottoms which investigators said amounted to cages. There was evidence that the children had been tied up.
Edwards says finding the couple is top priority.
"Not only one but seven children who were brought to this country didn't ask to come here," says Edwards. "It's number one on my list."
The Barretos are also facing nearly 200 counts of animal cruelty. A puppy mill, with cages full of purebred puppies and dogs was found on the property. The dogs have all been adopted.
The children were also adopted into good families after it was determined they were legitimate American citizens.
"All of those children are safe and in good homes and are going to have an opportunity here in the United States," says Creekmore.
One little boy was even adopted by someone close to the investigation. A second chance for the children, and hopefully, justice for Baby Enna.
If you have any information we urge you to call the U.S. Marshall's Office at 662-816-3006.