Marshals sniff out Barretos of Union County in California

By PATSY R. BRUMFIELD/Daily Journal

Law enforcement appears on a hot trail in Maywood, Calif., to find a Union County couple on the lam since May 2009.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Chris Felix of Oxford said Tuesday he and others from Mississippi were working with fellow marshals in a largely Hispanic neighborhood knocking on doors looking for Janet and Ramon Barreto.
Other news reports confirmed the door-to-door search for the Barretos, indicted in Union County on charges related to the 2008 death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna.
“We’ve been here since yesterday,” Felix said, referring to Monday, in a phone conversation with the Daily Journal.
Felix is supervisor of the region’s Marshals Fugitive Task Force.
Ben Creekmore, district attorney for the Third District, which includes Union County and New Albany, said Tuesday he hadn’t gotten any new information about the hunt but described as “huge” Janet Barreto’s recent addition to the U.S. Marshals Top 15 list of wanted fugitives.
The listing also offers a $25,000 reward for information leading to her incarceration.
The reward, Creekmore noted, was expected to bring tips about them to law enforcement.
The couple was arrested in Union County in May 2008, but disappeared after making bond a year later.
They face indictment on 10 counts, including six of child endangerment, three of child abuse and one of manslaughter by culpable negligence.
Janet’s biological daughter, then a teenager, admitted she accidentally killed Enna after her mother told her to punish the crying child. The daughter, who was forced to drop out of school to care for as many as eight young children adopted from Central America, later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served a five-year prison term.
Janet Barreto also is charged with witness tampering after she telephoned the jailed daughter, allegedly to try to get her to lie about what happened to Enna.
When investigators searched their trailer home just outside New Albany they also discovered a filthy puppy mill.
The daughter told authorities she believed her mother planned to sell the children like she sold the dogs.
The Barretos were believed to be living in California, but have ties to Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Mexico.
Authorities said the couple is known to sell small dogs through Internet ads and on the street and that they are known to sell DVDs and CDs out of a van.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the U. S. Marshals office at (800) 336-0102.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com

To Help
• Got information? Call the U. S. Marshals office at (800) 336-0102.