Officials continue to investigate child, animal abuse - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Reported by Lori Brown

Officials continue to investigate child, animal abuse

Updated:

As Tupelo Humane Society volunteers worked to rescue 200 dogs and cats from disgusting conditions Wednesday in a house near New Albany, Mississippi, sheriff's deputies worked to investigate the murder of a two-year-old there and the possible abuse her eight siblings.

Ramon and Janet Barreto's two-year-old daughter died at the hospital from blunt force trauma to her head.  The possibility of sexual abuse of the children is also under investigation.

The children are now in state custody.

"I don't have words to explain," Sheriff Tommy Wilhite said.  "Imagine 185 dogs, 25 cats, and nine kids in a three bedroom trailer. Pretty bad situation."

Wilhite said one of the children, a three-year-old, only weighed 20 pounds.  That child and two others didn't make any sounds at all to communicate.

Of the Barreto's nine children, seven are adopted. It appears all the adopted children are from Guatemala.

"ICE agents are working to determine how they got across the border legally," Wilhite said.

What may not be legal is how five of the children were adopted.  Officials said paperwork was missing, and investigators are trying to determine if the children were stolen.

Meanwhile the Humane Society is working on an investigation of it's own into animal abuse inside the home.  Wednesday, investigators said the couple could face additional charges, and former customers spoke out for the first time about the animals they bought from the couple.

Whitney Hurdle unknowingly adopted a seven week old puppy, Tootsie, from the Barretos.  Hurdle said she found the couple through a classified ad.

"Only one close," she said.  "I could get it the next day.  Didn't look into it.  Now I wish I had."

Rather than get the puppy at the breeder's house, the breeder had Hurdle meet her in a parking lot.  That's where Hurdle handed over $500 in cash- the only method of payment Barreto accepted.

"Had a child with her, a little girl," Hurdle said. "Nine or ten.  Little girl carrying the puppy.  She seemed alright. Gave me papers."

When Hurdle took Tootsie to the vet for her boosters, the vet was concerned about the teacup yorkie's size.

"He said he'd never seen one that small," she said.

A day after the booster shots, Tootsie died.  Hurdle said she hoped her experience would encourage others always go the breeder's home before buying a dog.


Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
    31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
  • Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:54:16 GMT
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX, the men describe what happened, and how they survived.More >>
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX News, the men describe what happened that day, and how they survived.More >>
  • Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:54:08 GMT
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service.More >>
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service. People told me they went to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for two reasons, to mourn the loss of five year old Ja-Naya and to show support to the parents who must now face life without their beloved child.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.