Miss. Couple Featured on America's Most Wanted

Relates to:
Date: 2009-12-04

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.

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How were they allowed to adopt 8 kids from Guatemala?

I watched this segment last night and it broke my heart! It was told from the eyes of the police deputy edwards who ended up adopting Edwin from foster care.
How was their background hidden from the social worker and adoption agency? Surely they had to do a home inspection and would have seen the filth the children were living in. It was the most unbelievable footage I have seen that this actually happens.
I hope they find the Barreto's and string those two up by their toes or better yet use duct tape to tape them together forever.
I would love to know what agency they used to adopt from Guatemala, anyone know?
We have to make sure they are out of business.

Spoke with Deputy Edwards

This case equally disgusted my husband and I who have fought for over 2.6 years to adopt. We were poked, fingerprinted, home inspected, etc., with a fine tooth comb.
This morning we found the number of Deputy Edwards, who by the way is a fine gentleman. He adopted Edwin after he and his wife had raised their children. What a good man!
We asked about who was the adoption agency that handled the international adoptions and he said that an agency called "New Beginnings" had something to do with it. He was unsure if they did the home study or the placement.
Looking online it is confusing because it looks like they just moved and are located somewhere in Florida.
Anyone have the skinny?
Anyone want Deputy Edwards phone number I will gladly give it. He welcomes anyone that would like to call.

I have a 3 year old girl from Guatemala

I am so floored!!! I just cant begin to describe the emotions I have toward this couple. My daughter was adopted, and I too, was pricked and prodded. FBI background check, finger printing, home study, and financial's! Fees were in excess of 30,000. How in the world could of these people afforded this EIGHT times?
We want another! My daughter is three, but I know from experience that my income is not sufficient for another international adoption. Also, I married 14 months ago (although it was my boyfriend of ....over 10 years) they have rules regarding the adoption after all major events. I believe two years. Anyhow, Every week we pray we will win the lottery so our "Gabby" can have a sister or brother!
My daughter is three and I still can not tear myself to return to work yet. I cherish every moment with my sweet girl!
How can people be so cold blooded toward such helpless, innocent children?
I pray they all find loving homes. Ok, actually I pray they all find my home, but.....
FYI My husband has a 30 & a 28 year old, while I have a 20 and 19 year old.
Our fondest memories are ALWAYS memories of activities with our kids.
Forget the fret and disappointment they may cause along the way, because they also will make you feel so loved and proud. Nothing else really compares to being a parent!

re: 3 year old from Guatemala

While I share your disgust...you must remember - although we had to jump through hoops stateside in the USA to adopt- adoptions in Guatemala were not above the board.
There were many people in country cashing in on the adoptions from Guatemala, including the Guatemalan Army which was supplying their military from Adoption funds. Children were abducted or coerced from their poor birth mothers.
This was common place back 2+ years ago. Prior to the country being closed for Adoptions.
Unfortunately, there are many unethical American Adoption agencies with Social Workers who are willing to write a home study to stretch the truth - remember most are contract workers and get paid on the completed home study.
My guess is many people at the agency and the social worker turned their head to red flags from this couple. They probably went into the country - dealing direct with the poor birth mothers who were willing to relinquish their babies for $50.00. Before Hague these "Open Adoptions" were permisable.

Adoptions in Guatemala was their largest GDP at one time, a means for the economy. It has nothing to do with what is wrong or right. I hope one day your daughter can meet her bio mother and siblings. American couples longing for a child, don't look at corruption until they have been screwed over by an adoption agency (i.e. promise of a child referral falls through, etc.,)

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