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Fugitive couple, Janet and Ramon Barreto, may be in California

December 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
It's a horrific case of a dead toddler, child neglect and animal cruelty. The hunt is on for a couple who have been on the run for years and may be in Southern California.

Janet and Ramon Barreto have been at large for more than three years. Authorities say they've been seen in Southern California cities including Huntington Park, Bell, Palmdale, Maywood, Bakersfield and Taft.

Both are facing manslaughter charges in Mississippi in connection with the death of their 2-year-old daughter. Authorities say the two left their severely injured daughter at a Mississippi hospital back in May 2008, telling the medical staff she had fallen from a shopping cart. The girl was immediately transported to a nearby children's hospital, where she later died.

The two are also wanted for multiple counts of child neglect and endangerment involving the abuse of their adopted children. Officials say the couple had adopted seven children all under the age of 5 from Central American countries. Investigators say one child, a 3-year-old, weighed only 20 pounds when the couple was arrested in 2008.

A judge set bond for each at $450,000, but they fled. The U.S. Marshals tracked them to Mexico, where their trail went cold.

Janet Barreto is described as being about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 300 pounds. Authorities say she has been known to use the name Victoria or Vicky. She has thin black hair but is known to wear blond wigs.

Ramon Barreto is about the same height as his wife and weighs close to 140 pounds. He has used the names Ramiro, Juan and Christian.

Federal officials say the two were running a puppy mill in Huntington Park as recently as last June. At that time, they told neighbors they were moving to Texas. Authorities say the two may still be selling small dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese and poodles to people on the street and through online ads.

Authorities say Janet Barreto often spoke of having children in Texas living with a sister.

The Barretos were last seen driving a white Dodge minivan. There is a cash reward of $2,500 for each suspect for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

If you have seen the couple or have any information about where they are, call the U.S. Marshals at (800) 336-0102.


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