CRIME

Were drug debts behind murder of Brazilian family in Spain?

Investigators believe victims may have been killed after a deal went wrong

Forensics experts at the house where the family was murdered.
Forensics experts at the house where the family was murdered.Pepe Zamora (EFE)

Spanish Police investigating the brutal murder of a family of four from the Brazilian state of Paraiba suspect they may have been killed over unpaid debts.

The dismembered bodies of two adults and two children were found on September 18 in their rented home in Pioz in Spain’s Guadalajara province after neighbors alerted police to a “terrible stench” coming from within the property.

The family lived in three different locations in three years, leading police to suspect they may have been on the run

Investigators believe the four had been dead for at least a month and identification of the heavily decomposed corpses was only possible after worried family members in Brazil contacted the Brazilian Consulate in Madrid and Brazil’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to find out if their relatives were the victims.

The names of the adults have since been confirmed as Marcos Campos Nogueira and Janaína Santos Américo from the city of Joao Pessoa, the capital of Paraiba state.

Photo posted by Janaina on Facebook.
Photo posted by Janaina on Facebook.

Police have previously said the nature of the killings suggested they were carried out by professional hitmen who used either a butcher’s knife or an ax. The killers then bagged up the bodies and and left them in the family’s rental home to reduce suspicions and give themselves extra time to escape, according to experts.

They did a “meticulous” and “methodical” job, investigators said.

Family members say Marcos Nogueira was a restaurant manager in Brazil who came to Spain for work, finding jobs in the hospitality sector all over Spain with stints in locations including Galicia, Murcia, Madrid and Valladolid. His last known job was at a Brazilian restaurant near Alcalá de Henares, in Guadalajara province.

Marcos Nogueira married Janaína Américo, the daughter of a well-known businessman, in 2013. She then moved to Spain and the family then lived in three different locations in three years – a fact that has led investigators to believe they may have been “on the run” from someone.

The bodies of the four were found after neighbors alerted police to a “terrible stench” coming from within the property

Police also suspect unpaid debts may be behind the murder. Janaína had recently asked her family for €1,000, supposedly to “go to the dentist and, above all, to pay two months’ deposit” for the rental property in Guadalajara.

Marcos was apparently outraged that his wife had asked the family for money as it suggested he was “unable to support his family.”

But investigators also are considering that the father, his wife and two children could have been killed over a drug deal gone wrong.

English version by George Mills.

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