A young woman who was four months pregnant has been deliberately burnt alive as she sat with a man in a car, by a group believed to include the father of her unborn child.
The couple were alive when they were tied up, petrol was poured on the car, and the vehicle was set alight, a police investigation has revealed.
The pair’s charred remains were found in the car in a rural area near Sao Paulo, Brazil on Saturday, October 17.
The victims have been identified as 24-year-old Ellen Priscila Ferreira da Silva and 39-year-old Ely Carlos dos Santos by the woman’s family members, after they recognised the vehicle, which belonged to Ellen’s mother.
Four suspects – three men, 19, 35 and 38, and a woman, 36 – have been arrested by officers investigating the deaths.
The police officer in charge of the case, Paulo de Tarso, told local media: “It was a premeditated and very cruel crime.
“One of the suspects even personally comforted the victim’s mother after her death was confirmed.”
The 19-year-old man and the woman have confessed to the crime.
However, the other two men have denied their involvement.
Paulo de Tarso told local media: “The victim was four months pregnant by one of the suspects, who is married.
“His wife, who confessed, and who is also pregnant, knew.”
The police are investigating three possible motives: revenge, crime of passion, and drug debt.
According to Paulo de Tarso: “Ellen and Ely Carlos may have been in debt to a drug dealer who was also arrested.
“Ellen also refused to abort the child conceived in the extramarital relationship.”
The principal suspect is believed to be the 38-year-old man and father of Ellen’s baby.
Despite promising to Ellen’s family to settle accounts with the young woman’s killer, the police found that the man’s car had travelled to the crime scene, raising suspicions about his involvement.
The man had originally told the police he had also been attacked on the day of the crime and that he pretended to faint in order to avoid being burnt alive.
However, he later confessed to inventing the story and self-inflicting his wounds under the effect of drugs.
The man knew the couple, as they took drugs together, he said.
Another teen suspected of involvement in the crime is believed to have poured petrol on the victims along with the 19-year-old man.
The investigation is ongoing.