The case of the Brazilian family found hacked to death inside a house in central Spain has taken a surprising new turn.
Although investigators first suspected a settling of accounts over drug debts as the motive for the crime, sources familiar with the investigation have confirmed that the couple and their two small children were in fact assassinated by the father’s own nephew, a 20-year-old Brazilian citizen described as “violent and unstable.”
Three days after the discovery, a Spanish court issued an international arrest warrant against Patrick Nogueira
The Spanish Civil Guard is also accusing Brazilian authorities of letting the suspect go after he returned to Brazil on a flight from Spain shortly after the grisly discovery.
“We have no doubt whatsoever that it was him, François Patrick Nogueira, the victims’ nephew,” said Civil Guard Commander Reyes at a press conference held on Wednesday in Guadalajara. “We have a large amount of evidence.”
A couple of days ago, police in his home town of Joao Pessoa (capital of Paraiba state) took a statement from the suspect and then let him go despite the evidence in their power, said the Spanish law enforcement officer.
Grisliest crime in memory
The corpses were found inside plastic bags in mid-September after neighbors complained about the stench coming from the house. Investigators believe the victims had been dead for at least a month.
Police were shocked to find that the couple’s young children, aged one and five, had also been dismembered in one of the grisliest crimes in Spain’s collective memory.
This led investigators to initially suspect that the parents may have been on the run over drug debts, and that the murder was “a methodical crime” probably perpetrated by “narcos and hired killers” described as “very tough and professional people.”
But on Wednesday, investigators revealed that the killer is in fact one François Patrick Nogueira Gouveira, the 20-year-old nephew of Marcos Nogueira. The killings are now being described as a “crime of passion.”
Two days after the bodies were discovered, the young man, who had been living in Spain, took a flight back to Brazil. At one point he had lived for four months with his uncle and aunt, Janaina Santos Américo, with whom he was reportedly obsessed.
That was before the family moved to a detached home in Pioz, in the sparsely populated Guadalajara province, in what investigators now believe was a bid to get away from the young man. Janaína had complained about him to her own relatives in Brazil.
He was described as having “a psychotic personality” and is said to have “seriously attacked a teacher in Brazil while still underage.” The Brazilian media outlet Globo.com, which first revealed the identities of the victims, reports that the suspect stabbed a teacher at age 16 in an assassination attempt.
An arrest warrant
On September 22, just three days after the bodies were found, a court in Guadalajara issued an international arrest warrant against Patrick Nogueira Gouveira. By then, he was already back in Brazil after changing his travel date from the original November 16. The date change was made just 24 hours after news broke of the grisly discovery in Pioz.
Brazilian authorities have been uncooperative so far, leading Spanish investigators to partially release information about the case.
One of Marcos Nogueira’s siblings, Walfran Campos, is trying to collect the €25,000 required to take the bodies back to Brazil for burial.
English version by Susana Urra.