|U.S. Marshals Add Suspected Child Murderer to 15 Most Wanted|
|Washington – The U.S. Marshals Service today announced the addition of a suspected child murderer to their 15 Most Wanted fugitive list. Janet Killough Barreto is wanted in Mississippi by the Union County Sheriff’s Department for failure to appear on original charges of manslaughter of a child, three counts of child abuse, six counts of child neglect and tampering with a witness. In addition, Barreto is wanted by the USMS Northern District of Mississippi for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
From 2005 to 2006, Barreto and her husband Ramon Barreto are suspected of traveling to Guatemala on multiple occasions to purchase children from a local adoption agency. Upon returning to the United States, the children were allegedly physically abused, malnourished and forced to sleep in deplorable conditions to include beds with plywood bottoms. The children were purportedly often punished with beatings and on various occasions duct-taped to their beds, punched in the stomach and forced to endure having their heads submerged under water. In 2008, the abuse led to the death of one of their adopted children, a two-year-old baby girl.
“Janet Barreto is a malicious individual who allegedly abused innocent children on multiple occasions and forced them to live in appalling conditions,” said William D. Snelson, U.S. Marshals Service Assistant Director for Investigative Operations. “Through her alleged crimes, Barreto demonstrated a blatant disregard and lack of respect for life other than her own. Adopting children and bringing them to the United States only to abuse and neglect them is a horrific crime. Adding Barreto to our 15 Most Wanted list allows the USMS to dedicate every available investigative resource to immediately locate and apprehend her, so she may face justice and answer for her crimes.”
Barreto was originally arrested in May 2008 and released in December that same year on bond. In March 2009, she was re-arrested for tampering with a witness and released on bond again. Two months later in May 2009, she failed to appear for her trial on the child endangerment, child abuse and manslaughter charges.
Her husband is also wanted in connection with the crimes, and they are believed to have ties in Mexico, California, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.
A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading directly to Barreto’s arrest. Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals office or the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102.
Previous USMS press release: http://www.justice.gov/marshals/news/chron/2012/121912.htm
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