NEW ALBANY – The property just outside New Albany looks like it’s headed back to country living, despite its difficult past.
The former home of Janet and Ramon Barreto at 824 County Road 87 this week looks fresh from a cleaning, its yard mowed and its chain-link gate wide open, apparently to welcome its new occupants.
It has not looked so well kept since well before it was raided in May 2008, its owners arrested, their adopted children taken into custody by the state and its puppy-mill occupants rescued by local animal lovers.
The Barretos took off two years ago to avoid criminal prosecution in the death of one of those children.
When they did, they left their bondsman, Josh Rupert of Tupelo, in the lurch for their hefty bail.
Rupert’s attorney, Don Gleason, said Friday his client anticipates filing the legal paperwork with chancery court to enable him to take possession of it and sell it as some small part of the heavy financial burden he’s borne since the couple left, reportedly for Mexico where Ramon Barreto has family.
Last week, District Attorney Ben Creekmore said he’s got time on his side to prosecute them, whenever they come back or are extradited by officials in Mexico.
The Barretos face multiple criminal charges, from manslaughter and felony child abuse to child endangerment.
Their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna, died May 19, 2008, from injuries she received when she was thrown into her mattressless baby bed by her teenage stepsister, whom Janet Barreto had ordered to care for her and half a dozen young children.
Janet Barreto also faces a charge of witness tampering after she allegedly tried to get the teenager to change her story about how the child died and conditions at their trailer home.
“Nobody has worked harder to try to find these people than Josh,” Gleason said about Rupert, who’s working full-time for the Army Reserves.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal