Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

U.S. Marshals Capture Lone Female Fugitive on 15 Most Wanted List



Fugitive’s five-year run ends at popular shopping mall in Portland, OR

Washington – The lone female fugitive on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list was placed in handcuffs by Deputy U.S. Marshals on Tuesday after they closed in on her at a Portland, Oregon shopping mall, ending her five-year run from the law.

Janet Killough Barreto, 43, who was 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, was apprehended along with her husband, Ramon Barreto, who was also wanted for the same offenses, at approximately 5:15 p.m. PST at the Jantzen Beach Center where they were taken into custody. Initially, the Barretos refused to identify themselves when they were approached. However, after both were and handcuffed, deputies were able to positively identify Ramon on the spot by verifying his fingerprints digitally. Janet continued being uncooperative. Her identity was verified after she was transported and fingerprinted at the local jail.

“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 fugitive investigation for Barreto gained significant momentum when a concerned citizen called the
U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force in Oxford, Mississippi, Monday, with information placing Barreto in Oregon or Washington State. The caller also alerted Marshals that Barreto possibly had an infant with her. In less than 24 hours, a collateral lead about Barreto’s possible location was transmitted to the U.S. Marshals-led Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force in Washington State, which ultimately led to her capture. An infant found with the Barretos during their arrest was placed with child protective services.

“Barreto’s arrest is a testament to the outstanding investigative work of our task forces, which combine the efforts of our deputies and our state and local partners,” said U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Mississippi Dennis Erby. “The force multiplying ability of our task forces played a key role in bringing her to justice.”

Union County Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said, “On behalf of the Union County Sheriff’s Department, I would like to thank the United States Marshals Service and the public for their help in capturing Janet and Ramon Barreto. The crimes they are alleged to have committed are nothing short of horrendous and despicable, and now it is time to let justice be served.”

Barreto and her husband are being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center in Portland awaiting extradition.

From 2005 to 2006, the Barretos were 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.

In May 2009, Janet Barreto failed to appear for her trial on the child endangerment, child abuse and manslaughter charges. She was added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitive list in 2013.

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