Brazilian confesses to sticking needles into two-year-old
AFP - Friday, December 18
A Brazilian man confessed Thursday to sticking more than 40 needles into his two-year-old former stepson in a ritualistic attack aimed at exacting revenge on his ex-wife, police said.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - – A Brazilian man confessed Thursday to sticking more than 40 needles into his two-year-old former stepson in a ritualistic attack aimed at exacting revenge on his ex-wife, police said.
Roberto Carlos Magalhaes, 30, has been moved from Barreiras in the western state of Bahia because residents of the city want to kill him for his horrific crime, which has raised fears over "black magic" rituals, officials said.
Police said Magalhaes had confessed to sticking the needles into the boy, two or three every day, and said he was helped by two women who have denied the accusation but are under temporary arrest.
"He did it aiming to kill the child, to take revenge on the child's mother, with whom he used to fight a lot," said Barreiras police chief Helder Fernandes Santana.
The boy, who has not been named because of his age, was rushed by helicopter to Bahia's main city Calvados for emergency operations to remove the needles, but doctors said an infection near his heart prevented immediate surgery.
"One of the needles got to the heart and caused an infection, he's taking antibiotics right now," said Francisco Reis, director of the Ana Neri hospital in Salvador.
"Every heart infection goes straight to the circulatory system. We will obviously have to operate this child, but now we're looking for the best moment to do it," Reis said.
The boy's 38-year-old mother, Maria Souza Santos, was with her son. She had taken him to hospital in Barreiras when one of the needles perforated his lung, causing him to vomit.
A careful examination counted 42 of the metallic objects -- some measuring up to five centimeters (two inches) in length -- dispersed throughout the child's body including the neck, torso and legs.
Doctors said they planned to remove the most dangerous of the needles, but others would have to remain inside the body because removing them was too risky.
The village of Barreiras lies in Brazil's tropical northeast, a region heavily populated by the descendants of African slaves. It is known throughout Brazil as a center of religions and rites similar to voodoo practiced in Haiti and West Africa.
The Estado news agency reported that the boy was taken each weekend to the home of a woman named Angelina, who ordered his stepfather to insert the sewing needles.
Santos said she did not know how the needles got into son, but told reporters she found objects used for black magic ceremonies in her house, including a bottle of cachaca -- a common Brazilian rum made from sugar cane.