Miss. Couple Featured on America's Most Wanted
By: Jill Monier
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.