By Patsy R. Brumfield
TUPELO – CNN Espanol reporter Gustavo Valdes is taking a notorious Union County child death story to Spanish-language viewers.
Valdes says his hope is that the story of Janet and Ramon Barreto and their flight from criminal charges will motivate viewers to connect and, perhaps, help authorities find them.
“We think it’s a story that our audience can get involved with,” the Atlanta-based Valdes told the Daily Journal on Tuesday as he pursued more information about the couple.
Janet and Ramon Barreto left their New Albany home in May 2009 to avoid criminal charges associated with the 2008 death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna.
The story went international with the gruesome discovery of filth and violence at the rural home, which also housed a puppy mill.
Court testimony claimed they likely were making plans to sell some of the children over the Internet, as they did the dogs.
Authorities from the local sheriff’s department and FBI to the U.S. Marshals Service have been looking for them ever since.
Recently, the Marshals thought the Barretos were cornered in a California suburb, but the two apparently slipped through a dragnet back into Mexico, where Ramon Barreto has family.
The Barretos face charges of manslaughter, child abuse and child endangerment that, if convicted, yield up to life in prison. Janet Barreto also is accused of attempting to tamper with a witness.
“People in this area still remember the story,” Valdes said. “It shows that when police want to do well by the victims, they will try” many tactics to make an arrest.
Within CNN Espanol’s broadcast reach are audiences across the U.S. into Mexico and Guatemala, where the Barretos acquired some eight young children to adopt.
In recent weeks, the Marshals put Janet Barreto on a Top 15 Most Wanted list with a $25,000 reward attached.