Janet Barreto, once most-wanted fugitive, dies in custody

Relates to:
Date: 2014-12-24

By Therese Apel, The Clarion-Ledger

A woman once on the U.S. Marshals' Most Wanted Fugitives list in connection with the death of her adopted child has died in custody, officials said.

Janet Barreto, 43, died of natural causes shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday at Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, according to a news release from the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

MDOC officials said they do not have further information on Barreto's health conditions while in custody.

Barreto and her husband, Ramon, spent five years running from authorities after failing to appear for trial in 2009 in the death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna.

In 2008, authorities raided the Barretos' home in Union County on a tip that Enna had been abused. She was taken from a local hospital to Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, where she died. Doctors there suspected child neglect and tipped off local authorities, who got a warrant and raided the property.

They were charged with child neglect, child abuse, tampering with a witness and manslaughter in the death of Enna Barreto as well as the abuse of six other children. They each were wanted on a charge of failure to appear on the original charges of manslaughter of a child, three counts of child abuse, six counts of child neglect and tampering with a witness.

In August, a tip lead authorities to the Barretos' location in Portland, Oregon. At the time, the couple refused to identify themselves to police, but a digital fingerprint system was used to identify Ramon Barreto. Janet Barreto was identified after being fingerprinted at the jail.

Janet Barreto pleaded guilty to six counts of child endangerment, three counts of child abuse and one count of manslaughter. She as sentenced to 25 years on Sept. 29.

Ramon Barreto is awaiting trial on a 10-count indictment in the same case.

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