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The Guaratuba Witches ( Brazil Cold Case)

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Evandro Ramos Caetano, then 6 years old, disappeared on April 6, 1992. His body was found on April 11 in a city thicket, missing several organs, with hands and feet amputated, and entrails and heart torn out.[4][5]



The Paraná prosecutor’s office indicted Beatriz Cordeiro Abagge and her mother, Celina Abagge (then first lady of the municipality), as masterminds of Evandro’s kidnapping and death. The allegation had been kidnapping and using the child in an alleged black magic ritual (ritual crime)[6] to obtain material benefits from satanic spirits.[7]


On March 23, 1998, Beatriz and Celina were tried for the first time, in what is the longest jury trial in the history of Brazilian justice (34 days of trial). In the verdict they were found not guilty. In 1999 the jury was annulled, with a new trial held 13 years later, on May 28, 2011.[8][9]


Others accused of involvement in the alleged murder were also tried for the crime: the pai-de-santo Osvaldo Marcineiro, the painter Vicente de Paula Ferreira, and the craftsman Davi dos Santos Soares. All three were convicted in 2004.[10] The other accused, Francisco Sérgio Cristofolini and Airton Bardelli dos Santos, were acquitted in 2005.[11]


With a tight vote (four votes against three), in the second trial Beatriz was sentenced to 21 years and 4 months in prison[12]. On April 17, 2016, the Paraná Court of Justice granted a sentence pardon for Beatriz Abagge.[13]


Podcast and TV series

In 2018 the Human Project, a storytelling podcast “dedicated to telling real stories of real people,” which has been produced since 2015 by journalist and university professor Ivan Mizanzuk,[14][15] from Curitiba (PR), portrayed the case. The result of two years of journalistic investigation, the narrative exposed the flaws in the investigation, the gaps and unanswered questions concerning the crime, and brought to light a new version: the statements taken by the Military Police of Paraná were “pulled out” under torture. The podcast became one of the most downloaded in Brazil in 2019, with over four million hits.[16] It was then adapted into a TV series produced by Grupo Globo for the Globoplay channel, premiering on May 13, 2021. [17][18][19][2][3] Isabela Boscov called the series “impeccable,” and said that “if in 1992 there was someone among the investigators of the case with the clarity, method, perseverance and rigor of Ivan Mizanzuk, we would probably know what happened to Evandro and the other boy who disappeared fifty days earlier in Guaratuba, Leandro Bossi.”[20]


Government apology

On January 4, 2022, the Paraná government published a document apologizing to Beatriz Abage for the torture.[21]



Statements obtained under torture

Defense and prosecution waged a lengthy clash over the confessions of the accused.


Tape recordings were presented alleging that the defendants were tortured in order to confess to the crime.[22] One of the people responsible for the possible torture was the retired colonel from the Military Police of Paraná, Valdir Copetti Neves. Interviewed by IstoÉ magazine, Copetti stated

“why ask about torture and circumstances of arrest only to me? Why not also ask the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Police who were in the investigation?”.

At the time, the torture thesis was overturned by the corpus delicti examination done with statements from the defendants, however, the manner in which the examination was done came under question by the defense.[7]


More evidence of torture appeared in 2020, when journalist Ivan Mizanzuk gained access to an unedited version of the tape containing the recording of the defendants’ confession. The information was released in episode 25 of the third season of the “Human Project” podcast,[23] and the audio of the tape was made available for download on the podcast’s digital encyclopedia.[24]


Doubts about the identity of the body found

There were also suspicions that the body buried in Guaratuba’s Central Cemetery was not that of the boy Evandro Ramos Caetano.[22] In the 1998 trial the defendants in the case were acquitted because the jury found that it was not proven that the body was Evandro’s.[16] The defense claimed that three DNA tests had been done, and the results of the first two were “inconclusive”. There are conflicts regarding how the samples for the examination were taken. According to the janitor of the Guaratuba cemetery, Luiz Ferreira, the body is not buried in the place the Public Prosecutor’s Office says it is.[22] The mutilated body was placed in a coffin at the crime scene without being examined and then buried. Not even family members mourned the body. [7]

Expert’s questions

Presenting the case on her YouTube channel, criminal expert Gigi Barreto called attention to the lack of chain of custody with the evidence of the crime, the fact that the boy’s disappearance is already being treated initially as a kidnapping – Evandro’s family is not rich, and that it is necessary to see which organs were missing in Evandro’s body, in order to connect it, or not, to a black magic ritual. The expert also questioned why Evandro’s family had investigated on their own, with inappropriate behavior by the former Civil Police investigator Diógenes Caetano dos Santos Filho, Evandro’s uncle. Barreto also raised the hypothesis that the crime scene was forged. About the fact that the saint father predicted the crime, Gigi Barreto did not find it unusual, since there are cases that were solved with the help of mediums.[27]


Press sensationalism

The way the press in Paraná handled the case, especially the popular and sensationalist media, accusing the investigated characters without proof, was completely inadequate. It is noteworthy that there is no complete proof that links the Umbanda temple mentioned in the case files with Evandro’s disappearance. In parallel, there was a raid on the lives of those involved, in inappropriate behavior by the press, which harks back to the Base School Case.[28]


Investigation too fast and wrongful linking of Umbanda

At the time of Evandro’s disappearance, with a child’s body being found a week later, two aspects called the attention of the specialized opinion: the fast investigation, without the due diligence of the experts (as exposed above), with immediate indictment of those involved; and the fact that the investigators and the press linked the murder of a child with Umbanda, linking it to an alleged black magic ritual.


Still an unsolved case

In retrospect, the initial handling of the case was frivolous. There are no notes that place the investigated people where the body was found; nor that the body was in the Shamanism temple of the cited people; besides the fact that the body found may not have been Evandro’s; among other expert, police, investigative and procedural mistakes. At the same time, in Guaratuba, another child had also disappeared.[7]


News :

The body of another child, located at the time, in the same place as Evandro’s body, was found to be female, with DNA testing from that period.


This year, a more modern technique was used, and it was found to be a boy, who had also disappeared at the same time as Evandro, in the Leandro Bossi case:


The samples of fragments used to identify the body of Leandro Bossi, who disappeared in 1992, are from an ossada found in Guaratuba and that had been with the Paraná Scientific Police since the time of the crime. Thirty years later, the Scientific Police re-examined the same ossada, which was still stored by the agency, cross-referencing it with genetic material from the mothers of eight missing children. One of these samples gave a 99.9% match to Leandro Bossi’s mother.


The treatment given to the evidence in the Leandro Bossi case can make discoveries impossible

According to the expert, the treatment given to the genetic material at the time of the crime, from collection to storage, did not follow the legal standards of the so-called Chain of Custody. The legal figure establishes rules and procedures that need to be followed in order to document the entire chronological history of the traces collected at sites or from the victims of a crime.


“The bone fragments that were sent to Brasília, nobody knows where they came from. Were these materials identified at the IML? There are eight fragments sent. Are they all from the same person? Are they from different people? We don’t have these answers”, questioned the lawyer.


For Miyazaki, the way this evidence was treated at the time of collection, in 1993, may have as a practical result the invalidation of future investigations into the death of the boy Leandro. “At the time, it was customary to wash the bodies and the belongings of the victims. All the material was washed to remove possible contamination. The clothes, the slippers that were found next to this body, were washed. The technique that was used required this ‘cleaning’, and this certainly removed any possibility of identifying possible suspects,” he explained.


For a specialist, the State “has no legitimacy to condemn” based on evidence

Finally, the lawyer points out that the announcement made by Secretary Mesquita was a way for the State of Paraná to try to “repair the damage” caused by previous investigations. Such “damage,” Miyazaki explained, became evident after the work of journalist and professor Ivan Mizanzuk, who in 2018 launched the podcast “Human Projects – The Evandro Case,” which gave rise to the series “Caso Evandro,” released in May on the Globoplay streaming platform with direction by filmmaker Aly Muritiba.


“The Sesp made this announcement simply to say that this is no longer a case of disappearance, but a case of murder. Perhaps, because of the tapes that showed the torture during the confessions of the accused, they are now trying to repair the damage caused by the context that was created at the time. Thirty years ago, they tried to give a faster answer than the right one”, he analyzes.


Thus, for the criminal specialist, since there was no Chain of Custody, there was a breach of these rules, and it is very difficult to incriminate someone by any expert evidence in this context. “It was more than notorious that the IML did not have conditions for storing these materials, the work was not done in the proper way. The State of Paraná, today, would not have the legitimacy to impose a conviction against someone based on the expert evidence in this case,” he said.


See the answers from Sesp, the Civil Police and the Scientific Police

Sesp, in a statement, said that “its public security policy is to search for the real truth, even if the cases are old and eventually filed”. The secretariat also assured that “it has employed and will employ all available technological resources to elucidate the authorship and circumstances of crimes committed in Paraná”. The secretariat did not comment on Michael Miyazaki’s allegations about flaws in the handling and storage of evidence collected in the Leandro case.


The Scientific Police explained, also in a note, that the samples analyzed had been in their custody for the past 30 years. There are no further details about how this material was stored during this period, only the information that it is bone fragments, and not the complete skeleton. The samples, confirmed the Scientific Police, are from three cases of disappearances that occurred in the early 1990s. Finally, the note guarantees that all the unidentified remains in the possession of the State are being processed as part of the National Campaign of Missing Persons.


The Civil Police confirmed that all the unsolved cases are still under investigation, and that the information filed with the courts will be requested. The note sent to Gazeta do Povo informs that “as soon as the material is in the possession of the PCPR, it will be reviewed in order to seek and produce new evidence that can justify the reopening of the investigation to investigate an eventual homicide crime. The investigation, explained the  Police, will be in charge of the Guaratuba Police Station.

You can learn more on the site about the case, sad, in my country (Brazil) and state where I live (Parana)




Posted : June 16, 2022 4:24 pm