Torres earns diploma, hopes for release soon

Relates to:
Date: 2011-09-10

Torres earns diploma, hopes for release soon
by Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Marainna Torres doesn’t have her freedom yet, but she’s got a high school diploma.

Torres, 20, took part in graduation ceremonies Friday at Central Mississippi Correction Facility in Pearl, where she’s completing a prison term.

She was 16 in 2008 when she first saw the inside of a jail cell, under arrest for the death of her 2-year-old adopted sister, Enna Barreto.

After pleading guilty to manslaughter, she was sentenced to serve five years in prison.

Earlier this week, she prepared for her graduation and for her return to the free world, perhaps in late October, on the Early Release Supervision program for the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

“I’m very proud of myself, it’s a big accomplishment for me,” she said.

At her sentencing, Torres said her mother and stepfather forced her to quit high school to care for numerous infants and young children they adopted from Guatemala.

Now, she’s looking for a roof over her head so she can qualify for the ERS program.

“I’m just trying to get a place to go,” Torres noted.

Under the ERS, she must have a confirmed residence and it must be approved by her case manager to complete release paperwork. She’s looking to a relative for a roof over her head for about six months.

Alodia Cruz, her former teacher, from Myrtle attended Torres’ graduation.

“I think she’s doing very well,” Cruz said about Torres, with whom she’s corresponded. “I think she’s looking forward to being out, but she may be a little nervous about being on her own.”

On her way to the graduation, Cruz said she and Victory Church in New Albany, where Torres briefly attended high school, stand ready to assist.

“I know we will be there to help her,” she said.

Recently, Torres said she’d like to go back to school and perhaps be a cosmetologist.

After prison she’ll still be on probation for several years.

Her mother, Janet Barreto, and her stepfather, Ramon Barreto, left Union County more than two years ago in the face of multiple charges of child abuse, child endangerment and manslaughter by culpable negligence in Enna’s death. U.S. officials continue to seek their extradition from Mexico, where Ramon has family.

Torres said she wonders how her mother is doing, especially as she approaches her 40th birthday later this month.

“I can only wonder and hope the best for her,” Torres said. “I just continue to pray and keep faith.”

patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com

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