Couple suspected in child's death arrested after 5 years on the run

Investigators said Ramon and Janet Barreto adopted children through a Guatemalan agency and mistreated them, killing one toddler.
By Frances Burns  |  Aug. 14, 2014 at 10:35 AM
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PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A couple suspected of killing their 2-year-old adopted daughter in Mississippi were arrested at a Portland, Ore., mall after five years on the run.

Investigators said that Ramon and Janet Barreto were living in Vancouver, Wash., across the Columbia River from Portland and using the names Juan and Emily Chavez. The U.S. Marshals Service took them into custody late Tuesday afternoon after getting a tip they were at the Jantzen Beach mall in North Portland.

Janet Barreto was added to the service's 15 Most Wanted list last year. The couple were awaiting trial in Mississippi on charges of manslaughter and child neglect when they disappeared.

They were charged in Mississippi with adopting young children from Guatemala through an agency there and then subjecting them to grotesque mistreatment. They allegedly beat the children and held their heads underwater.

One girl, a toddler, died in their care in 2008.

Supervisory Deputy Eric Wahlstrom said that the couple, when they were arrested as they emerged from a Burlington Coat Factory store, had a month-old boy with them. Investigators were unsure what their relationship was with the baby.

Officials said the couple have agreed to waive extradition.

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