(WMC) - After five years on the run, the husband and wife accused of abusing several illegally adopted children in Mississippi are behind bars.
Janet and Ramon Barreto have been running from Union County investigators and the U.S. Marshals Service along the west coast. They were indicted in the death of their 2-year-old adopted daughter in 2008 and fled after posting bail for the manslaughter charges.
"Their job was to try and get away, and it was us and the Marshals job to try and catch them and ultimately, we won," said Sheriff Jimmy Edwards.
Edwards was the lead investigator on the case when the crime occurred. He has made it his mission since his time in office to find the couple and bring them back to face justice.
The investigation began when the 2-year-old girl was taken to the hospital in New Albany, Miss. with suspicious injuries. She later died in a Memphis hospital.
Authorities charged the couple and Janet Barreto's daughter, Marianna Torres, with manslaughter. Torres eventually pleaded guilty, but her mother and step father fled. Torres was sentenced to five years in prison in connection with the 2-year-old's death, but was released early.
"The Marshals Service and the sheriff's office has never forgot that child that lost her life," Edwards said in a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Oxford.
After searching the couple's Union County home, investigators alleged several adopted Guatemalan children were duct-taped to beds, dunked underwater, and even punched in the stomach.
For years, investigators searched for a break in the case.
It came this week in Washington where the Barretos were reportedly seen selling DVDs in a parking lot. The two were later arrested nearby in Portland, Ore. the following day.
Authorities credited the community for reporting tips after watching news stories about the couple.
"It's because of that cooperation between state and local officials, as well as the news media, we got the word out, and eventually an informant saw some of that news and brought it to our people," said Dennis Erby with the U.S. Marshals Service.
Investigators said she was put in charge of all of the adopted kids, but was a child herself and an abuse victim.
"Her cooperation and the fact that she was born into a situation and raised in an environment that led to these charges had some bearing on the judge's decision," said Assistant District Attorney Kelly Luther.
Including Torres and the two-year-old who died, detectives say a total of nine children were abused and neglected by Janet and Ramon Barreto.
Torres is expected to be asked to testify against her mother and stepfather.
Marshals recovered a child when they captured the Barretos in Oregon. It's unclear how they got the child.
The Barretos will be extradited back to Mississippi within the next 10 days to face the charges they ran from.