In June 1988, Barbosa was arrested for the murder of a twelve-year-old girl. He was linked to the crime by a fingerprint left on a candy-wrapper at the scene, this being the means by which he lured victims. He confessed to killing 71 girls since escaping from prison two years earlier, and he led authorities to the dumping grounds of those victims whose bodies had not yet been recovered.
Barbosa was convicted in 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment. It has since been reported that he was murdered in prison, by the cousin of one of his victims.