News out of New Albany, Mississippi:

The death of 2-year old Guatemalan adoptee Enna Barreto has been ruled a homicide by the Shelby County medical examiner. Her adoptive parents, Janet and Ramone Barreto , have been charged with two counts of negligence, but more serious charges are pending. According to news reports, Enna died in a Memphis hospital from blunt force trauma to the head. She is one of seven children, most from Guatemala, “adopted” by the Barretos. Two others are Janet Barreto’s biological children. The eight surviving children, ages 3-17, are in the temporary custody of the Department of Human Services. They reportedly show no signs of harm, but accusations of sexual abuse are being investigated. The couple is scheduled for arraignment next week.

But this isn’t the whole story. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are investigating just how the children got to the US. Officials say that paperwork on five of the adoptions is missing. Neither of the Barretos is employed. They rent out trailers they own throughout the county and they sell puppies…

But this isn’t the whole story. The Barretos sell lots of puppies–as in Internet puppy mill puppies–as in Barreto’s Luv-a-Puppy. Sheriff Tommy Wilhite says (get ready!) 185 dogs, 25 cats, and 1 duck-were found crammed into 67 cages behind the 3-bedroom trailer where the Barretos and the nine children lived. Although a 3-year old girl found at the trailer home weighed only 20 pounds, the animals are reported to have been well fed. Many of the animals were born on top of feces that accumulated on the bottoms of their cages, and insects warmed the pens. Each one will receive a veterinary exam, medical care, grooming, vaccinations and spay or neuter operations. Those who survive will be placed for adoption as soon as possible. It’s too bad, the eight kids will have to wait a little longer.

The Barretos’ attorney Tony Farese describes Mrs. Barreto as “…a nice lady. She has a loving heart. She loves children. She has some physical problems, and she’s currently pregnant right now.” He’s blaming Mrs, Barreto’s 17-year old son on Enna’s death.

It’s not a huge leap from K-9 kollector to kid kollector, from animal abuser to child abuser from breeder to breeder. If these kids were adopted, how did it happen? What agency, what home study, what “professional” opened the gate? And if they are “illegal” how and why did they get here and what were the Barretos doing with them? The logical step up from the puppy mill?

The link between animal abuse and violence is well documented. According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse. Go to Pet Abuse.com for more information.

Here’s some links to follow:

Northeast Daily Journal, May 21, 2008
Death of 2-year old called homicide in Union County

WREG-TV, Memphis, May 21, 2008
Union County couple face charges in girls’ death

WMC-TV, Memphis, May 22, 2008
Officials continue to investigate child, animal aluse

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, May 22, 2008
Neglected pets sold through website

I’m leaving Sunday for a week in California. I’ll try to keep up with this story while I’m gone, but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to write. There is so much more to ay about this. If anybody finds more, please post it under “comments.” And please, pick this up and spread the word.

Thanks to E Case for the heads up on this story!

UPDATE: Also see
Adopted Jane’s blog: When Adoption Turns to Murder
Baby Love Child: Enna, Oh Enna aka When Animals Outweiht a Dead Guatemalan Adoptee


  1. We have the same thing going on, minus the puppy mill, in one of the most upscale parts of our region here in Central FL. A man killed his two-year old Guatemalan adopted “son” and has abused the other adopted children, also from Guatemala. The untouched children are their natural ones. This one made me cry as hard as the one that happened here. These kids were probably stolen to begin with and were only acting like confused, lost children. SHAME is too small a word to place on these people.

    To make things worse for the surviving Guatemalan kids is the fact that there is a tug-of-war going on between the FL CPS and the Guatemalan attaches’ sent to claim them and try to return them to their parents.

  2. Thanks for the link back Marley..I think the more of us that blog about this kind of Horror, the more the word will get out there..Something MUST change in Guatemala and this freak show they call *adoption*

  3. Freak show is right! I don’t remember it ever being this bad. I would really like to see a Senate investigation on international adoption (domestic, too, but I think there’s a better chance at IA) similar to the hearings that Sen. Keefauver held on black market adoptions decades ago. Some very brave people stepped forward then and put some very bad people out of business. That might be impossible today due to the merger of the state and the adoption industry.

  4. Very ugly story, two things I really hate, child abuse and animal abuse, and yes, as is pointed out, those who start with animals are just as likely to hurt people, especially children as they are small and helpless.

    I think someone should look into the psychological links between irresponsible pet hoarders and those who adopt large numbers of children. I bet there are similarities.

    Humans are the most horrid species.

  5. Robin:

    In Florida, are you referring to the Brian Kloosterman situation? The very recent case where he and his Dr wife adopted at least four Guatemalan children & one bio? & the Nanny turned Brian in for abusing the one child?

    If you are, that child wasn’t murdered. He was abused by his “loving” ADad. The agency that placed the children with Kloosterman & his wife the doctor was Celebrate Children International (who was denied Hague Accreditation – screw you Sue)

    If you are not referring to that case, please fill me in. If you are, I’d like to learn more about what is going on.

    Sadly, is it time for a “Forever Adopted Forever Dead” memorial for the Guatemalan children? Their ranks have grown.

    FWIW, I could NOT find the name of the agency that placed Dennis Merryman – long story – phone calls to the Aegis, to the local library – ugh.


  6. As always, you folks are incredible. A font of information helping bring together other aspects of the larger picture by pointing out local facets of it.

    There aren’t enough hours in the day right now, but I need to spend some time reading through the Kloosterman stories and write about it as well.

    Leads like this, even when I’m not going to get there right away, are still very valuable. Thank you!

    More broadly, is anyone keep track of how many of the Guatemalan kids have been killed now? (Not that one isn’t ALREADY too many!)

    And E.- thanks for the update on Dennis and the still unknown agency. I’ve been digging too, here in MD. Nothing yet.

  7. E. Case, you are right. I had this case mixed up with another case involving two natural children and one murdered adopted child from Laos. That happened two years ago and never made the papers, just the rounds of gossip.

    The child we are speaking of was injured by his father lying on top of him and the other adopted children had also, according to local reports, suffered abuse.

    The rumors are that there is a very big, but hush-hush war going on between the FL CPS and attaches from the Guatemalan embassy. All in all, it stinks to high heaven.

    I will keep an ear open. Put down the error to enroaching senile dementia. =0P

  8. By way of latest news updates, I haven’t gotten through my news searches today, but be sure to read this story-

    Adoption process likely OK’d Union Pair (5/24)

    Also I’ve pulled an older Fox *cough* news *cough* piece from May 21rst, Mid-South couple facing charges of child neglect, homicide, animal cruelty.

    It has some snippets of video from inside the house, describing the conditions therein. To date, most of what I’ve seen has focused outside on the animal cages. So this was a little different.

    I can also give you two more blog posts from adoptionland about Enna’s death;

    Ungrateful Little Bastard’s Adoption process definitely FAILED Guatemalan kids – but who cares, right? in which she blogs about the DJ piece, but ads commentary and some great graphics.


    Adopted Jane’s When adoption turns to murder

    There are also a variety of other pages and blogs that have picked the story up (such as here for example.

    I suggest using tools such as Google’s blogsearch and Google news to stay on top of the latest and set email alerts for updates.

    I’ll only be pulling a few particularly pertinent pieces from time to time to post here.

  9. I know the comments section of MG’s blog isn’t the place to be discussing this – but – there were about two other murdered Guatemalan children. One’s name was Gustavo Hunt. The other’s name I can’t recall right now.

    Very interesting info re: Kloosterman. Even what I read prior something stank about it – Dr. Mom has a hard time of pregnancy – they turn to Guatemalan adoption to adopt at least three children – and whamo! abuse occurs.

    Robin, feel free to email me privately:

    [email protected]


  10. An investigation
    on foreign adoption?

    How about an investigation on ALL adoption.

    Once a baby or child is adopted
    NO ONE checks on
    that child AGAIN
    unless of course they die and can find the dead child.

    We had a adopter that adopted and killed her little daughter buried her behind the mountain home they lived in and then told everybody that the child went to school in Europe. Guess what her older natural daughter blew the whistle on this “mother” and she went to trial not sure how long she got for the killing. Oh, and her hubby knew about this and didn’t report it!

  11. You REALLY need to check facts before you post. So much for innocent until proven guilty. Robin, your statements are sooooo false you should be brought up on charges. The Florida man NEVER killed a child. The couple lost a baby who was born 4 months premature. There has NEVER been any evidence of past abuse. There has NEVER been anything mentioned about them being stolen. You really need to be more careful before you trash people you don’t know based on one or two very 1 sided reports. Unless of course you are on a personal witch hunt. I’ll wait for your response when the whole story has been reported and you can apologize appropriately and publically to this couple.

  12. Don’t get me wrong…I think it’s horrible what happened in New Albany. But, it also needs to be put in perspective: On average, over 4 children in the United States die every day due to child abuse, and in a fair world the plight of abused children born in the United States needs to be addressed as much as the plight of abused children adopted from Guatemala.
    My wife and I went through all the official hurdles of adopting a child from Guatemala a couple of years ago, and to balance the media frenzy over the evils of Guatemalan adoptions lately, I’d like to report that our little girl (who was definitely NOT stolen from her mom) is very loved by her entire extended family, doted on by her older brothers, is smart as a whip, very popular with her other preschool classmates, and absolutely thriving and on track to being a proud and outstanding adult U.S. citizen.

    Of course the horror stories need to be publicized, because, unfortunately, the squeaky wheel gets the grease and so we have to squeak to get officials to enact needed change. But, the flip side of the story is that some Guatemalan children who are legitimately in need of parents right now, who would otherwise be heading to loving American parents, are growing up in over-capacity orphanages and foster homes due to the bad press frenzy causing the adoption process to slow down.
    I think, like most things, there needs to be more balance to all the press coverage about children adopted from Guatemala.

  13. Hey, anonymous…I became confused because there is a lot of adoption crap that happens here in FL, AKA Acoption Heaven. I have already corrected my post after having E Case point out my error. Since you don’t have the nerve to post your name, I’ll just tell you, here, that it will be a cold day in Hell before I ever apologise to this couple or anyone else who abuses. What’s your stake in it, anyway? Hmmmmmmm.

    It is true that the two-year old boy was abused ON VIDEO and the other adoptees showed signs of abuse. But then, we shouldn’t take the word of a simple nanny over that of a well-to-do republican preppy, now, should we? Truth is truth and what is rumor I have identified as such!

  14. Well, I have been talking about animal abuse and adoptee abuse on myspace for what now, the last 9 months now?….and yes it is correlated, and yes it intertwines and yes, it does anamze me how many adoptees on the internet trash me because I am a vegetarian and am against animal testing..adoptees complain, about being oppressed, yet so many who fight for adoptee rights especially on my space adoption groups, and the AAAFC forum don’t give a damn about the torture animals go through living in tiny cages locked up(like our OBC’s) whilst all freedom is denied…During Mother’s Day my message about adoption oppression got through to the animal activists, as I received bulletins about how mother love is mother love and newborn calves are taken from their mothers right after birth, how horrifcally wrong this is and how the the poor abused cows constantly cry for them day and night….it is good to see now that adoptees see that we are treated as badly as animals are, expected to be slaves to those with power and who love money making us, like the animals who have the same feelings and need to be free and happy, the commodies we all are. I don’t give a worthless human ass who hates me as StepFord Child on myspace…..I have done much good for the animals and helping to end adoptee oppression as the animal activists understand our plight….and see the animals have the same one. It is time for more adoptees to do their fair share for the animals too and fight as hard for them as you do for yourselves….

  15. You have never seen the video, just heard reports of reports but either way, he is guilty before proven innocent. They have been slaughtered all over the press and their lives are ruined based on rumors and senior moments.

  16. For the last two posters,

    Adoption = Pain and grief for both the natural mother and the child

    And not one, but two nannys have tried to report this guy, anon. Something is not right there and you can stop slapping my hand because I slap back.

  17. Robin,

    I am sorry for the pain that you have gone through personally. I was one of the posters on another blog who you slammed for supporting adoption. I do agree with you that everything should be done to have a child stay with their birth mother, however, that is not always the case.

    I have DREAMED of having a child for a very very long time. I would cry every time I would see a woman and her child. I tried to have children, but miscarried twice. My husband and I discussed it, and decided that instead of making a Xerox copy of ourselves, that we wanted to take in a child that could not be cared for by the mother that gave her birth. Maybe this was not totally a selfless act, because I was filling my need and want for a child, but none the less, what would have happened to my child if I did not take her in? Maybe she would have gone to another loving home, but maybe she wouldn’t have. Perhaps she would have gone to an orphanage? Adoption is a choice. It is one made by the birth parents, and by the adoptive parents. It is not an easy choice. It pains me that people could disregard or belittle the love that I have for my child, and let me tell you, that love is DEEP. YES there have been some misfortunate adoptions, but there have been some very healthy ones too. Heck, there are families that are related by blood that can not STAND each other. I will never ever regret adopting my daughter. I hope and pray that she does get to meet her first mother one day. I pray that she loves me as deeply as I love her, or even a fraction of how much I love her.

    I wish many blessings for you. I hope that you have much peace and contentment in your life.

  18. Robin, more untrue rumors. I hope you are not in the press. The first nanny came out in FULL SUPPORT of the parents. The rumor about the first nanny being fired was a lie – started by the 2nd nanny. Slap away honey.

    Adoption is such a challenging issue. We do need to fight for children whose voices are seldom heard. But it is not helpful – actually harmful when beautiful people reach out to adopt only to be scratched down by rumors and inuendos.

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