Marshals capture couple wanted in death of Mississippi 2-year-old

Couple wanted in child-abuse case, death of 2-year-old captured in Oregon

A Mississippi couple suspected of rampant child abuse that led to the death of a 2-year-old in 2008 were captured in Oregon this week, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Janet Barreto, 43, and her husband, Ramon, were captured Tuesday at the Jantzen Beach Center in Portland after nearly five years on the run from manslaughter and endangerment charges, officials said.

Authorities said the two had long been suspected of purchasing children from a Guatemalan adoption agency in 2005 and 2006, then bringing them to the couple's home in Union County, Miss., where they subjected the children to various types of torture.

“Janet Barreto is a malicious individual. Through her alleged crimes, Barreto demonstrated a blatant disregard and lack of respect for life other than her own,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton. “I am greatly appreciative of the extraordinary efforts made by our dedicated men and women in apprehending one of our most wanted fugitives.”

The Barretos duct-taped the children to beds, refused to feed them, submerged their heads in water and forced them to sleep in deplorable conditions, according to authorities, who allege that the conditions led to the death of a 2-year-old girl in 2008.

Officials said Janet Barreto failed to appear in court in May 2009 in connection with manslaughter, endangerment and child-abuse charges, and that she has been on the run ever since.

She was the lone female fugitive on the Marshals Service's top-15 most-wanted list.

Authorities said they were able to track down the couple after marshals in Mississippi received a tip that Janet Barreto was seen traveling in Washington or Oregon with a small child.

Authorities said they found an infant with the Barretos when they were taken into custody Tuesday. The child was taken into protective custody, officials said.

Janet and Ramon Barreto each face charges of manslaughter, child abuse and neglect, and they are being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland while they await extradition to Mississippi. 

Calls to the Union County Sheriff's Office in Mississippi were not immediately returned.

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