Mid-South couple facing charges of child neglect, homicide, animal cruelty
A Mid-South couple faces seven felony child neglect charges, pending homicide charges, and animal cruelty charges.
The Union County Sheriff's Department raided the New Albany, Mississippi home of Ramon and Janet Borretto after the death of their two-year-old daughter.
Last weekend, the toddler was transferred from a Mississippi hospital to LeBonheur Children's Medical Center, where she died. Doctors tipped off police after uncovering signs of child abuse and suspected sexual assault.
The Shelby County medical examiner's office conducted an autopsy and ruled the little girl's death a homicide.
Police said the girl's parents forced her and eight other children, six of whom are under age 2, to live in deplorable conditions in their trailer, all while they ran a massive puppy mill in the backyard.
Seven of the nine children were adopted from foreign countries. The couple did not have paperwork for some of the adopted kids from Guatemala.
Inside the home in living conditions detectives described as deplorable and disgusting, they found flies surrounding the door, feces next to food, and cockroaches everywhere.
"I think their living conditions were atrocious," said Union County Sheriff Tommy Wilhite.
Also found on the property was a massive puppy mill with more than 200 dogs, cats, and ducks.
Other than dogs barking, neighbors were largely unaware of the conditions of the children and animals at the rural North Mississippi property.
"I walked by this way several times. Suspected something, but never this," said neighbor Jane Wiegartner.
About 200 animals found on the property are now in the care of the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, where volunteers are working hard to get them into adoptable condition.
The Humane Society's Debbie Hood said it won't be an easy task.
"The food that is in their cages is covered in feces," she Hood. "The animals are all matted and flea infested."
The children and animals are in state custody. Ramon and Janet Borretto sit in jail awaiting their day in court.
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