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News- End of June articles relating to Enna’s death- lots of new developments

I’ve been following the details in the aftermath of Enna’s death closely. For new readers, or readers in need of reminders, take a look at my earlier writings on Enna, and Bastardette’s “Mississippi: of Puppy Mills and Baby Mills — If you can stomach it!

The below represents a final round up for a last few articles that hit towards the end of June relating to Enna. While there are certainly other articles out there, these are the one that appear to contain new details. I’ve included excerpts of some of the new material. Lots of new developments happened in late June that I hadn’t had time to blog about yet.

When we left off back on June 7th, Janet Barreto’s biological daughter Marainna Torres had been charged with capital murder in Enna’s death, but not yet arrested as she was under psychiatric care in a Memphis, TN hospital. (Memphis is where Enna died.) Capital murder is definied as a murder that occurs during the commission of another crime, in this case, felony child abuse.

We pick up the story with Marainna’s arrest June 22nd after a month of psychiatric treatment:

Teen arrested, charged with killing sister

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 22, ’08

After a month-long investigation, the 17-year-old accused of killing her 2-year-old adopted sister is in custody of the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Bond for Marina Torres of 824 County Road 87, New Albany was set at $1 million after her Tuesday arrest for alleged capital murder. Torres has been a patient at Saint Francis Mental Hospital in Memphis since speculation that she may have caused the death of her adopted sister Enna Barreto last month.


Investigator Roger Garner said the Union County Sheriff’s Department has been working very hard to get someone charged with the child’s murder.

“After a month we finally got the suspect in custody,” said Garner. “We are keeping her in an undisclosed location.”

Torres’ parents, Ramon Barreto, 29, and Janet Killough Barreto, 36, are still in the Union County Jail on seven counts of child endangerment each and their bonds are set at $350,000.


Garner said information Torres has provided during interviews may lead to charges against the Barretos being upgraded.

Three days later, this DJ article hit detailing new charges against the Barettos.

UPDATE: Barrestos face new charges in daughter’s death

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 25, ’08

Charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence have been added to Janet and Ramon Barreto’s troubles related to the death of their 2-year-old daughter last month.

Union County Sheriff’s Investigator Roger Garner said this afternoon, the new charge has upped their bond another $150,000 each – bringing their total to $300,000 per person. The Barretos are still in jail charged with seven counts of child endangerment concerning their seven other children.

Their attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland, said they will be arraigned in Union County Justice Court at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Meanwhile, no arraignment has been set for Marainna Torres, Janet Barreto’s 17-year-old daughter, who is charged with capital murder in her adopted sister’s death.

The following day, this article appeared (same name, I know, it would seem the reverse order, but I’m working from the dates.) This article is from Thursday, the day of the hearing:

Barretos face new charges in daughter’s death

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 26, ’08

The Barretos are still in jail charged with seven counts of child endangerment concerning their seven other children.

Their attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland, said they will be arraigned in Union County Justice Court at 9 a.m. today.

He said the new charge is based on their allowing Janet Barreto’s 17-year-old daughter, Marainna Torres, to care for the young children.


Enna Isabel Barreto died May 19 in a Memphis hospital where she had been taken by her parents after they claimed she had fallen from a shopping cart during a family outing. An autopsy ruled the child’s death a homicide.

This, the claim the Barrestos and their lawyer made that Enna’s injuries were caused by falling from the shopping cart in Memphis (thus leading to her death) while in Torres’ care, would go on to become an issue later on.

The Barretos initially were charged with child neglect but that was changed to child endangerment after deputies and child welfare officials searched their 824 County Road 87 trailer-home near New Albany and found squalid conditions inside and a puppy mill operation outside.

All of which were found during the raid on the property back in Mississippi that was sparked by the doctors in Memphis concerns about the children’s welfare.

The next two articles mainly detail how the roughly 2 minute long hearing went.

Couple pleads not guilty in daughter’s death

AP June 26, ’08

A Union County couple pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence related to the death of their 2-year-old daughter last month.

Janet and Ramon Barreto entered the plea Thursday in Union County Circuit Court. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 5. Their bond was set at $100,000 each.

UPDATE: Barretos plead not guilty to new charges

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 26, ’08

Janet and Ramon Barreto, shackled and handcuffed in a justice court hearing Thursday, pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter by culpable negligence in the death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter, Enna.

Their attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland, actually pronounced the words “not guilty” for them before Judge Ronnie Rackestraw. The entire hearing took less than two minutes.

Their bond was set at $100,000 each.

They have been in jail more than a month, on $350,000 bond each, on seven charges of child endangerment after their daughter’s death from head trauma.

Janet Barreto’s 17-year-old biological daughter, Marainna Torres, is in custody in an undisclosed location accused of capital murder in the child’s death. She only recently was released from a Memphis psychiatric hospital, where she was admitted immediately after Enna died.


The Barretos are scheduled for a preliminary hearing Aug. 5 in Union County Circuit Court.


The six adopted children are in foster homes in custody of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

(As far as I’ve been able to find, still only two of the children have adoption paperwork, while the others are constantly labeled “adopted” in the media, but as far as I can tell, the investigation into the disposition of the other children remains ongoing. See my earlier writings, particularly “Enna and her ‘siblings’, where did they all come from?” to understand the scope of the investigation.)

Barretos plead not guilty to new charges

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 27, ’08

It took two minutes Thursday for Ramon and Janet Barreto to formally be charged and plead not guilty to accusations they so grossly neglected their 2-year-old adoptive child that she died at the hands of her 17-year-old sister.

“I think the state’s gone out on a limb,” their attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland, said immediately after their arraignment at the Union County Justice Center.


Janet Barreto’s teenage daughter by a previous marriage, Marainna Torres, is being kept from the public eye, under $1 million bond, charged with capital murder in Enna’s death.

Her attorney, Thomas Levidiotis of Oxford, said later Thursday that Torres attended a circuit court hearing last week in lieu of an initial appearance to explain to her the charges and her legal situation.

Capital murder is murder during the commission of another crime; in this case, the other crime is child abuse.

Keep in mind that Torres is a minor (17) and her lawyer, Thomas Levidiotis of Oxford, appears to be a court appointed public defender.

Tony Farese, the Barretos’ lawyer on the other hand, is described below as “one of the state’s top defense attorneys” which I find interesting considering the Barretos themselves do not to first impression appear to be people of vast means.

They made their living renting dilapidated trailers and running animal sales at area flea markets and on the web (see this article, “Horror lurked in country home; children, animals live in filthy conditions” for more details on the treatment the animals received. This quote from the article in particular stood out for me,

The people that did this should be shot, or at least when we come to spay and neuter these animals we should spay and neuter these people along with them,” said Mississippi State University School of Veterinary Medicine Professor Phil Bushby.”

As the animal article points out though, these animals may have fetched quite the price, giving the Barretos perhaps more of an income than might be assumed at first glance.)

Farese, one of the state’s top defense attorneys, also predicted prosecutors will offer Torres a deal for leniency to testify against her parents.

(speaking of Enna, herself:)

She died of severe head and lower body trauma, which family members originally said was caused after she fell from a shopping cart during a Memphis outing.

(Once again, watch that claim. It will matter further down into this post.)

The endangerment charges come from a sheriff’s department investigation of their 824 County Road 87 trailer home, where they found squalid conditions inside and a puppy mill out back.

“The 17-year-old is the lady who killed the child in question,” Farese insisted Thursday.

For nearly a month after the death, Torres was treated in a Memphis psychiatric facility. It’s only in the past few days that investigators have been able to question her.

“Ultimately, the parents are responsible for their children,” said Investigator Roger Garner. “We’re beginning to get some understanding of what happened.”

Farese said prosecutors, after interviewing Torres, decided the Barretos should be charged anew with manslaughter by culpable negligence because they entrusted Enna’s care to the teenager.

According to Union County’s official charge, Torres became “overwhelmed” with “all care, nourishment, and supervision” of Enna, which led to her death.

If convicted of the new charges, the Barretos could face no more than two years in prison. Justice Judge Ronnie Rakestraw set their bonds at $100,000 each. That brings to $450,000 their total bonds each.

Two years.

You read that right.

Hopefully as the investigations continue more charges will be leveled against them, possibly relating to the immigration status of the Guatemalan kids they ‘adopted’, yet seem to have no paperwork. Animal abuse charges are also in here somewhere, I believe, but in light of the immensity of what the Barretos have done, a pathetic two years seems unthinkbale.

I want to digress for a moment and once again discuss the ongoing coverage. First of all, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal is really the only paper doing ongoing coverage of the aftermath of Enna’s death and their detailing of the developments has been invaluable!

But unfortunately, even in the DJ, the framing continues to be toned down, (referring to the story below.) While I fully understand how difficult it can be to fit all the angles and details into any given story, language assumptions such as ‘adoptive parents’ in light of the ongoing investigation into how the Barretos got a hold of the Guatemalan children really needs some retooling.

Everything surrounding Enna’s death goes far beyond tragic, much of it is criminal, and caught in a legal system, that to date, has only been able to apply charges with relatively minimal penalties.

It is far from “tragic” that her ‘adoptive parents’ are in jail and thus cannot walk to visit her grave, it is instead tragic that the few penalties they face to date relating to Enna’s death are so minimal that they may very well be able out to visit her grave in the not distant future.

Everything surrounding Enna Barreto’s death is tragic

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, June 30, ’08

Who is responsible for the death of Enna Barreto?

Did her parents, one American and one naturalized from Mexico, treat her so poorly by entrusting her care to her older sister that the teenager became overwhelmed and killed her?

It’s going to be Torres (‘s) word against the Barretos. Is it that simple?

The questions surrounding Enna’s procurement, suffering, and death, and that of her so called ‘siblings’ run far deeper than a mere they said/she said.

Farese describes his clients as good people, who love children. They apparently went to some lengths and extensive financial burdens to adopt the seven.

Again, speaking to those ‘adoptions’ only two appear to have the paperwork intact. As for the others, there are vast questions about how the Barretos managed to procure so many Guatemalan children, and the lack of an official paperwork trail on the kids.

Did they “love children” as their lawyer presents them, or did they just love collecting children, perhaps illegally?

The limited in scope questions the DJ article asks are simply not the right questions.

Unfortunately articles, such as this continue to be riddled with broken language, (“adoptive parents”.) While yes, the kids ended up with the Barretos, calling such a (legal) “adoption” remains a long way from being proven.

But the article does provide some insight into how Janet Barreto’s Daughter, Marainna Torres’ attorney, Thomas Levidotis intends to portray her:

Torres’ attorney, Thomas Levidiotis of Oxford, says he won’t predict any outcome except to find a way to protect “this child,” as he calls her.


Levidiotis says Torres is “a fragile person.” After Enna’s death, she spent 30 days in a Memphis psychiatric facility.

“She’s not some kind of mean person, a hoodlum,” he insists. “She’s entitled to our best efforts.”

It also discusses a bit about how the case will likely go forward:

First, unless District Attorney Ben Creekmore comes up with acceptable plea agreements all around, a Union County grand jury will take a look at the facts.

That’s expected in September.

The Barretos’ attorney, Tony Farese of Ashland, is working to portray his clients as victims, placing the blame for Enna’s death squarely on Marainna Torres and seeking a lower bond for the Barretos.

(I’m in inverting the order of these next two article excerpts for a moment;)

Last week, they walked into the Union County Justice Center courtroom to face the new charges – Ramon, 29, a slight man wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, hands cuffed, legs shackled. Janet, 36, in grey sweatpants and a navy T-shirt, hands cuffed, legs shackled.

After the two-minute hearing they stood docily beside Farese staring blankly at two sheets of paper outlining the charges against them as TV cameras got their video.

“It’s been a tragedy – losing not only your child … locked in jail, accused of capital murder, paraded around to and from jail,” Farese observed afterward.


… Farese soon plans to ask for a lower bond so the Barretos can get out of jail and go home to the trailers where investigators believe Enna was attacked by Torres.

This last bit, “home to the trailers where investigators believe Enna was attacked by Torres” would seem an important direct contradiction to the family’s earlier claim that Enna died after (as a result of) having fallen from a shopping cart in Memphis, TN while under Torres’s care (the same argument their lawyer has used.) (See “The family initially claimed she had fallen from a shopping cart during a Memphis outing.” from the earlier in the same article.)

This then would then place the harm Torres allegedly caused to Enna back ‘home’ in Mississippi prior to the trip to Tennessee.

So we now have a new question, did Enna’s injuries (severe head and lower body trauma) take place in Mississippi or Tennessee? (stay tuned on that front… .)

A secondary question then comes- IF the injuries to Enna primarily took place in Mississippi, were the Barretos aware of such and if so, at what point?

Fortunately, the investigation has been ongoing:

Union County sheriff’s Investigator Roger Garner says he hasn’t stopped his investigation.

Farese, pressing ahead with the conversation, said prosecutors are going to have to tell him what Torres said, then he’ll have a chance to disprove it.

“She’s going to allege crazy stuff and we’re going to put her on the polygraph,” he told reporters Thursday.

Garner came right back, confident about what he’s got.

“I’m not crawling out on a thin limb, if I didn’t think the state’s case would hold.”

The article also includes a few details concerning Enna’s final resting place:

Back at Martin Cemetery, Enna Barreto’s grave at plot No. 50 is the last one on the back side of a relatively undeveloped part where almost all the 11 other graves are as far away from hers as possible.

Looming over the red dirt shoveled atop her tiny white casket, a few floral arrangements from her May 22 funeral are still there, now in varying degrees of decomposition. The stuffed toys on some of them have lost their fluff from the changeable weather.

Even though the Barretos cannot visit her grave yet, Garner says he does.

That’s it for June. I’ll have the ‘early July’ Enna related stories up soon by way of kind of a ‘part II’ on this catching up.

There’s more, much more to come to this long sad saga.


Meanwhile, my usual 3 adoption questions remain-

Who did the homestudies on the two adoptions that were legal?

What part of the adoption establishment did the two placements?

And where the fuck was the follow up for these kids? Did anyone ever bother to check on them after placement?


One Response to “News- End of June articles relating to Enna’s death- lots of new developments”

  1. Emily Watkins Says:

    I am so saddened by this story of these poor children All of them including this mistreated 17yr. old. I just saw the story on AMW. Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009. I live in Olathe Kansas. I heard from the report on t.v. that all the young children were adopted. Does Marainna Torres have anybody to love ans support her? She is just a child and a victim in this crime. Please let those two adults be caught and held completely liable for what they have done to these children.

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