A couple, featured on the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted list, were arrested at a Portland, Oregon mall after spending half a decade on the run.
Ramon and Janet Barreto are suspected of killing their 2-year-old adopted daughter in Mississippi.
Investigators said the couple 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, reports UPI.
Janet Barreto was added to the service’s 15 Most Wanted list in 2013. The couple were awaiting trial in Mississippi on charges of manslaughter and child neglect when they went missing.
They were charged in Mississippi with child neglect, child abuse, tampering with a witness, and manslaughter in the death of Enna Barreto, and the abuse of six other children. They allegedly physical abused their children, kept them malnourished, lived in deplorable conditions, and held their heads underwater as a form of discipline.
In 2008, authorities raided the Barretos’ home on a tip that Enna had been abused. She was taken from a local hospital to Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., where she later died. Doctors there suspected child neglect and tipped off the sheriff’s department, which got a warrant and raided their house.
“There were certainly some highs and lows over the years, but we never forgot one of those children lost their lives with that incident and that’s what started the whole case,” Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said. “We have a lot of friends at the Marshal Service, and we help each other. They never gave up and we never gave up.”
Supervisory Deputy Eric Wahlstrom said that the couple had a one-month-old boy with them when they were arrested as they emerged from a Burlington Coat Factory store. Investigators were unsure what their relationship was with the child. The child with them at the time of their arrest is now in protective custody.
Officials said the couple have agreed to waive extradition.