Brazilian footballer beheaded, and head left on doorstep
Gruesome discovery made by policewoman wife of former professional in Rio de Janeiro
A BRAZILIAN footballer has been decapitated and his severed head left on the doorstep of his home in Rio de Janeiro, where it was discovered by his policewoman wife.
The head of 35-year-old Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos was found inside a rucksack outside his home, the player's eyes and tongue had been cut out.
Santos, who played for several clubs in Rio as well as in Sweden and Honduras, retired from football two years ago and set up his own business selling health foods and dietary supplements.
According to reports, police believe he was snatched as he closed his shop on Monday night. Witnesses saw him being bundled into a car and driven away shortly before midnight.
His wife, named as Geisa Silva, waited up all night for him to come home, and made the gruesome discovery at 5.30am when she heard a noise outside the house and went to investigate.
Brazilian website Globo G1 reported that the player's body was later found on the banks of a nearby river.
"Investigators are working on the hypothesis that Mr Santos could have been murdered by a drugs gang because of Mrs Silva's work at a military police base in a local slum," reports the Daily Mail. She worked for a 'Police Pacification Unit' in the Morro do Sao Carlos area of the city. It is one of dozens set up in Rio's infamous favelas to retake control of the city's slums from violent drug traffickers, explains the paper.
Santos's career as a professional footballer lasted from 1996 to 2005. He played for second division Brazilian sides and also went overseas and played for Swedish Club Oster Vaxjo and Olimpia in Honduras.
The shocking murder comes less than a year before the country hosts the World Cup and after foreign fans were warned to be on their guard against crime. More than half of homicides, robberies and thefts in Brazil are connected to drug-trafficking, adds the Mail. ·